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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
Features Editor

Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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North Wind Editorial Board February 27, 2024

Of Mice and Men

As we watch our economy fall deeper and deeper into trouble, it brings to light certain values and moral obligations to each other as human beings. Nothing brings those issues to light as fully as John Steinbeck’s classic “Of Mice and Men,” which will be performed on the stage of the Forest Robert’s Theatre Thursday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 20.

“It’s basically a play about friends,” said director Shelley Russell. “It’s a play about what it means to take care of each other.”

There is a certain realism that can’t be ignored when hearing the story of George and his simple friend, Lennie, who work at a California ranch. They faced many of the same problems during the 1930s that we ourselves face today, such as an economic crisis and questioning basic everyday morals.

George: Joe Rayome | Lennie: Kristofar Kremplen

“It’s going to be a show that college students will appreciate, because it raises questions that are still relevant,” said Russell.

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Despite the play’s serious note, Russell said she is very excited for opening night.

“(Students) will feel like it’s the best play ever,” Russell said. “They will walk away telling their friends, ‘You’ve got to see this.’”

Another reason to be excited about the performance of “Of Mice and Men” is that Joe Rayome, NMU alumnus and current member of the Actor’s Equity Union, will be guest starring as the main character, George.

“The story itself is just so classic. That’s what’s so great about the actors in the play. It’s so real and it’s so skeletal,” Rayome said. “It’s not about special effects. It’s not about spectacle. It’s about these guys’ lives in a very difficult time in history.”

Rayome said he also noticed the striking similarities between the play and present-day America – similarities that can’t be avoided.

“These are guys just trying to scrape through and make a living for themselves, have a life, feed themselves every day, know where they’re going to be sleeping every night. There are a lot of people today in this country who are going through the same thing. I think it’s important to know that history repeats itself and what we can do to help ourselves going forward,” said Rayome.

Rayome brings his observation skills onto the stage during rehearsal. He treats his acting just like any other profession in hopes that some of the students might take away a few lessons themselves, he said.

“Part of what was exciting for me to come back is being able to pass something on, to share experiences that I’ve learned in the time I’ve been gone,” Rayome said. “These guys who are exactly where I was nine years ago.”

Rayome said he hopes other students can learn about acting from his example on the stage, and he also hopes that they view him as approachable, especially if they have questions or want to talk about their acting with him.

“If there’s anything they want to talk about, if there are any questions they have, please come to me. That’s a big part of why I’m here,” said Rayome.

With so many actors performing for the first time in this production, it’s easy to see where some help would come in handy. Kristofar Krempien, a senior physical education major and former NMU football player, is hitting the stage for the first time as Lennie, George’s friend who he also looks after.

“This is a totally new experience for me,” Krempien said. “It’s a big role and a difficult one.”

Michael Skrobeck, a sophomore and also a new face to NMU’s stage, has also found that connecting with his character can be difficult at times.

“I never thought that I’d be picked to play Curly,” Skrobeck said. “It’s a matter of understanding Curly. He’s just a total jerk and I don’t think he realizes how mean he is to people, and I have to be that. And it’s changing my voice. My voice is not a manly voice, and I can admit that, and I’m not the manliest guy. But I get into this costume and change my accent and change my voice real low, and I just change.”

Despite these difficulties, the cast and crew in “Of Mice and Men” are working hard to make the production a hit on campus.

“Expect the unexpected,” said Skrobeck. “If they think they know what they’re getting into, they don’t.”

Tickets to “Of Mice and Men” are $8 for NMU students with an ID, and $12 for the general public. Performances will be Nov. 17-20 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. To purchase tickets, contact the Forest Roberts Theater at 906-227-2082 or go to any of NMU’s EZ Ticket Outlets.

“The Boss”: Rob Shirlin | Curly: Michael Skrobeck

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