WINDHOEK- A cast of some of Namibia’s top actors will soon appear together on stage in a play titled Of Mice and Men, adapted for stage from the novel of the same title written by Nobel Prize-winning author, John Steinbeck.
The novel was first published more than 70 years ago, and tells the tragic tale of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced farm workers during the Great Depression in California in the USA.
The novel is a prescribed work for Grade 12 learners this year and the production is a joint effort between the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) and the Ministry of Education. The novel was adapted to a stage script by award-winning actor, David Ndjavera, who was commissioned by the NTN to complete the play.
Ndjavera informs ArtLife that the adaptation was not a challenging assignment. “The book itself had been simplified over the years because it was popularly prescribed for schools, and this made it easy to adapt to a stage script. However, the biggest challenge was in deciding which parts to leave out and which to retain without losing the fundamental plot and theme of the book. After much struggling, I am satisfied that the play will be a good reflection of the contents John Steinbeck wished to bring across in this sad tale,” Ndjavera explains.
Ndjavera also directs the play with a strong cast which includes Rhisto Ngambe, Lucky Pieters, Steven Afrikaner, Blessing Mbonambi, Paul Hamman, Romulus Pieterse and Mudi Pontac. “I have found it very easy to work with them, primarily because as professional actors, they are committed and this is reflected by their adherence to rehearsal times which is a crucial consideration.
They are doing everything that is expected of them and with this team I have not experienced the normal suspects of coming late or under the influence which so many other directors have to face with less experienced players.”
Ndjavera says he enjoys acting more than directing. “I regard directing as merely a job, whereas acting, on the other hand, comes naturally to me. As an actor I get into a role and see it as a challenge to bring out the character which the playwright had in mind. But this does not mean that one does not need talent to direct.
Directing demands a lot of creative thinking from the director, who has to ensure that the final production satisfies the audience. If the director is not able to interpret the plot and assist the actors to portray the characters correctly, the play will fail,” Ndjavera explains.
The play will be staged for the public at the NTN tonight at 20h00.