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.
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
Write a POEM or a short duologue ABOUT LONELINESS.
"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.
5pm, Saturday 14 May 2016
- 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
Submissions are currently closed