The Loneliness Project

The Loneliness Project

The Loneliness Project

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.” 

John Steinbeck took the title of his novel Of Mice and Men from a Robert Burns poem entitled ‘To A Mouse’. According to legend, Burns inspiration for the poem came after ploughing in the fields and accidentally destroying a mouse’s nest, which the mouse needed to survive the winter. Burns poem can be interpreted as ‘however hard we try, things often go wrong’.

Burns suggests we are all at the mercy of random events and the differences that make us who we are. Whether we are small, tall, male, female, young or old, we have little or no control over our lives.

Steinbeck’s story stays true to the same themes, with a strong moral message about people who feel different or vulnerable.   Like Burns, Steinbeck shows compassion to his characters, many based on real people, who are met by cruelty and indifference because of their circumstances and who they are.


This project needs you!

Today, we still see many examples of people being isolated and discriminated against because of their circumstances and who they are. During the current financial crisis, we’ve seen attacks on the poorest in receipt of benefit allowance, as well as 744,000 people on zero-hour contracts. Meanwhile, in the current refugee crisis, people have been disparagingly described as cockroaches and swarms. 

Society has changed in big ways since Steinbeck wrote Of Mice and Men. We now live in an information age, where many connections are made or continued digitally online through ‘social media’. We have hundreds, even thousands, of online friends or followers. We use dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr, scanning and swiping for someone or something. There isn't even a need to speak to anybody when we buy our groeceries anymore (unless there's an unexpected item in your bagging area, which of course, there isn't!).

 

In this creative project, we want you to write a POEM or a short duologue ABOUT LONELINESS. You might be inspired to write about a character in Steinbeck’s novel. You may want to reflect on your own life or experience you’ve had, you may find inspiration from a friend or something you’ve seen on the news. 

We want you to write something honest but playful  and from the heart.

Although the theme is LONELINESS, we’re encouraging you to think about the many themes that relate to this in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men: friendship, isolation, innocence, freedom, justice, violence, prejudice, age, race, masculinity,  femininity and vulnerability, economic hardship and the struggle to survive.


Prizes 

Of Mice and Men premieres on 4 February at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where it continues until 13 February and then tours across the UK until 28 May.

 

  • At each tour stop, Theatre Cloud together with the Of Mice and Men cast will shortlist our favourite poems from recent submissions, and actors from the play – including Dudley Sutton who plays Candy and Kristian Phillips and William Rodell who play Lennie and George – will perform filmed readings at the theatres. These videos will be available to watch every week.
  • All scripts written as duologues will be published on Theatre Cloud. The winning duologue will recieve a filmed performance.
  • In the final week of the tour, an expert panel will review the shortlisted poems and the duologues. The author of the most powerful piece of writing , as selected by the judges, will receive a grand prize of £300.   Judges will also choose a runner-up who will win £150. A third prize of £150 will be awarded to the poem or duologue that’s most popular with audiences online.
  • Everybody that enters will receive an exclusive £10 ticket offer to see Of Mice and Men performed at their local theatre.
    View the shortlist

Get Involved

#LonelinessProject

Write a POEM or a short duologue ABOUT LONELINESS.

Register to TheatreCloud.com today and
Add your submission

 

"Wait, what's a duologue?"

A duologue is a play or part of a play with speaking roles for only two actors. We recommend keeping it at around 5 minutes in playing length.
 

Deadline

5pm, Saturday 14 May 2016

Rules

  • Project is free to enter
  • Each poem or duologue must be the original work of the author
  • Individuals may enter more than once
  • Due to large number of submissions, we are unable to respond individually to all entrants 

 

 

For more information or help, please email [email protected]

View the shortlist

View submissions

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Submissions are currently closed

Submissions

The difference
By Angi Holden

The Difference There’s being alone, and then there’s loneliness, the two so different, not to be confused. I have known each, and I can tell you this: Alone I am relaxed. I am used to my own…

Blues for a Despot
By Marvin Orville

Blues for a Despot Pain, o Pain, you’ve followed all my life Pain, o Pain: this limo’s leather’s cold I thought love would turn my lead skies to gold I thought love would gift me a fulfilled…

I talk to myself
By marie stell

I talk to myself Because I understand, I won't laugh at my stutter Or my disfigured hand. "That's right my dear friend, I'll always be here, You'll never be lonely, I love you my…

Of Work and Men
By timothy1300 .

My life, is of Loneliness. Of cold snow, On concrete, And my footsteps, Walking, all alone And my walls, Empty, Of any, kind of Mementoes. And planes, Planes, Planes, Planes, An old couple, Held hands,…

Pot Growth
By Martin RUSSO

Former work colleagues and friends, Sally McCann, visits her old team member Jane Tipple at home on a Friday morning in London. Jane: Sally! How lovely to see you, come in. Sally: Hi Jane, I love these…

The Advice
By John Kolyav

[A psychiatrist’s room. The doctor and a patient, sitting face to face] Psychiatrist: You say your wife’s cruel. And you say she never beat you. Contradictory! Could you explain why do you…

The Bad Samaritan
By Stephen Selkirk

Supervisor Frank, could you step into my office please? Frank What's up boss? Supervisor I think you know what's up. Frank No idea. Oh please tell me this is not still about the shaving foam.…

To dream or not to dream
By Ruth Onyebuchi

To dream or not to dream was my dilemma, though father preferred the latter, if my memory does remember. He would watch me write madly like those words I would render to the gods; he disapproved cause…

At the Top
By Clair Chen

M: Boyfriend? Husband? F: They come and go but not at the moment. And no. M: Kids? F: No time. M: Siblings? Parents? F: What about them? M: Are you close? F: Define “close”? M: Do you see…

Unloved
By Sayeeda Ahmad

Unloved Mother told her then, ‘Women lose the men they chase.’ He must not know you need him and you must be unattainable. Mysterious.’ But she could not tell him this. She needed him…

No Body (Amended Version)
By emi young

The mysterious masked man on the battlefield stands quite alone. We line up, opposing him, proud. We glare him up and down in unison, as one poised crowd. We huddle close and share ploys. “I’ll…

No Body
By emi young

The mysterious masked man on the battlefield stands quite alone. We line up, opposing him, proud. We’re glare him up and down in unison, as one poised crowd. We huddle close and share ploys. “I’ll…

No Body
By emi young

The mysterious masked man on the battlefield stands quite alone. We line up, opposing him, proud. We’re glare him up and down in unison, as one poised crowd. We huddle close and share ploys. “I’ll…

Alone At Witching Hour
By emi young

The clock clunks. Time, and rhyme again, She, too, tries, Cries to husher me to creep. People, she says, are asleep. One eye gawking ahead. Three hands protruding. She has no two feet for dragging. Even…

Alone At Witching Hour
By emi young

The clock clunks. Time, and rhyme again, She, too, tries, Cries to husher me to creep. People, she says, are asleep. One eye gawking ahead. Three hands protruding. She has no two feet for dragging. Even…

The Old Man
By thomastajo .

One day I was sitting by the river. And when I was lost in my contemplation and became unconscious of the world around me. Suddenly there appeared an old man out of my unconsciousness, before me, almost…

The Yellow Crayon is Missing
By Leeona Bermingham

Fixed steady on the heart of a beating star; The wonderment of golden spheres fails to Ignite this blue. The never ending pulse of emptiness. And the realisation comes to light – Like when the race…

Crow song
By Julia Lestander

The crow croaks its crow song, up there in the sky, and I can hear the lyrics; Come Along And Die. I skip along after, catching snippets now; Skip A Little Faster, Until You Fall Or Fly. Hurriedly I race,…

Depression
By Julia Lestander

Everything is black and blue, All of it a shade of grey. Charcoal is the limitless view. Even the month of May. The cars are flurries of dust and ash, speeding across the vast taupe. Lightening that crosses…

The girl that was a bird
By Julia Lestander

Once when I was little, eleven and a third, I knew a girl, committal to the thought she was a bird. Her hair was shiny amber, with eyes so gentle blue, Took the world like a commander. She said I was…