The play “Of Mice and Men” was performed at The Empty Space Theatre from Aug. 25 to Sept. 9.
The play is about two migrant workers who have big dreams. The two have very different personalities. One, George, played by Nick Ono, is really smart, and the other, Lennie, played by Treyvon T. Fletcher, is mentally disabled. The two had a dream of having their own ranch. Robert Kempf is the director and also plays the role “The Boss.”
According to Kempf, they have been in rehearsal for six weeks, but for him he is familiar with the book and the play. When asked why he chose to direct the play, he said, “It was a pretty popular story and it’s taught in middle school. It hasn’t been performed in town in over 10 years so we thought it was a good time.”
Directing a play for him is kind of easy and hard at the same time; there were some performances like stage fights that could take time. “It is both easy and hard, but the challenges are always great,” he said.
Kempf said he had a good time working with the actors. They were nervous and anxious when doing the rehearsal, but they were enthusiastic. When it came to working with the other directors, it was interesting. It was not really hard for him, and they had the same vision for the play. “I’ve never really worked with someone directing before like that, we’ve both had an even hand,” he said.
The “Of Mice and Men” play is not just for entertainment purposes, but the cast and crew members were also doing the show for a good cause. They have been doing a book drive for schools.
When Kempf was asked about how difficult it was to direct and act at the same time, he said, “It’s a challenge for me as I get older. It gets harder to memorize and remember lines, and as a director, I’m always thinking as a director, so I’d always been up the acting part to a bitter end, so I didn’t have my lines memorized very well until the couple of days ago.”
Regarding the preparation for the play, Kempf mentioned that he has read about the writer of the play and the book. “I’ve been familiar with his books over the years but I like to refresh my mind about his story, and see how much knowing about him can influence the story of the play just knowing little facts about him.
“We watched the whole cast and we sat together and watched a movie, based on another book of his, ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and that’s kind of the same period of time about the migrant workers, so that was eye opening to everyone to see people at that time through what the two main characters are going through,” he said.