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Friends on and off the stage

"It kind of all came together," Bunce said.

Lange, who credits the actors' professionalism for the quick turnaround, comes back to NYSTI once a year to serve as guest director and is thrilled to be at the helm of "Of Mice and Men." When Snyder gave him a list of titles to choose from and he saw "Of Mice and Men" on the list, "I jumped at it," he said.

Like Romeo, he cited the depth of the story as one of its main attractions.

"The characters are extremely simple. They're trying to make the best out of their lives," Lange said. "And what comes out is this enormous complexity about human nature. You get this wonderful rainbow of people and experiences."

"Of Mice and Men" runs from Friday, Oct. 31, to Sunday, Nov. 9, in the Schacht Fine Arts Center at Russell Sage College, 5 Division St., Troy. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for senior citizens and students and $10 for children 12 and younger. They can be purchased by calling the NYSTI box office at 274-3256 or visiting its Web site, www.nysti.org.""

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