If you're a dog person — and if you're not, you should be — the most affecting character in Palm Beach Dramaworks' Of Mice and Men was not Brendan Titley's Lennie Small, the mentally challenged migrant worker, nor John Leonard Thompson's George Milton, his long-suffering partner. It was Dennis Creaghan's Candy, an aging handyman on a roiling ranch whose mangled hand has prompted him to question his future utility. The one thing he seems to live for is his big blind dog, dismissed by the other laborers as old, stinky, and crippled, a creature for whom a mercy killing would do the entire ranch a favor. The dog, "played" by a retired service animal, provided Dramaworks with a lot of attention from the local media, but it was Creaghan's heartbreaking love for the animal that made us care so much for it. When the dog was promptly dispatched (offstage, of course), Creaghan accepted its fate with inevitable, nuanced resignation, seeming to glimpse his own bleak and pitiless future through his beloved pet's. There were few moments in any play that were harder to watch than this one.

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