Lennie is strong and simple. George is short and sharp. They are migrant farm workers. It’s the Great Depression. It smells of sweat. Dogs get shot. Black people are lynched and women are whores. Lennie and George talk of living off the fat of the land, raising rabbits and auntie Clara’s blueberry pies.
The cast includes Wil Young who plays Lennie. Wil is a company member from Hijinx North Academy, one of 5 Academies in Wales that trains learning disabled and/or autistic adults to be-come professional actors. Neal McWilliams (Volcano Theatre, The Other Room, Sherman Thea-tre) plays George, Tom Mumford (NPT Theatres, August 012, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru) plays Slim, Anthony Corria (aka Wella; National Theatre Wales) plays Crooks and Sara Lloyd Gregory (Being Human, Torchwood, BBC; Hinterland, BBC/S4C; Theatr Clwyd, National Theatre Wales) who plays Curly and Curly’s Wife. The show is directed by Mathilde Lopez (La Voix Humaine, Aldeburgh Festival 2017 / Festival of Voice 2016 Wales Millennium Centre / Welsh National Opera; Yuri, August 012 / Chapter / Underbelly Edinburgh 2016; City of the Unexpected, associate director National Theatre Wales & Wales Millennium Centre) and the scenographer is Tina Torbey (Design Studio Assistant at National Theatre, London). The Lighting Designer is Ace McCarron (Music Theatre Wales, Scottish Opera, English Touring Opera), Costume Designer is Brighde Penn (recently graduated from RWCMD with a masters in Performance Design) and Composer is Gareth Evans (Tonypandemonium National Theatre Wales; Roberto Zucco August 012). The show opens on the 18th of October at Chapter Arts Centre and will run until the 28th of October.
August 012 is a theatre company that produces vigorous and ambitious international contemporary plays rarely seen in Wales. The company endeavours to bring the writing and ideas of the rest of the world to the Welsh stage, in English, Welsh and other languages.
Director Mathilde Lopez said;
“We are very excited to join forces with Hijinx and wrestle with the seminal piece that is Of Mice and Men. I am also terrified to do it justice and echo the strength, relevance and conciseness of the novel on stage. We will explore documentary realism and the hyperboles of the Bible and find the spaces where Sergio Leone meets The Little House on the Prairie.”
Clare Williams, Chief Executive of Hijinx said;
“Hijinx applauds August 012 for their courage in casting an actor who has a better understanding of Lennie than any neurotypical actor. It has long been Hijinx’s ambition for mainstream theatre companies to recognise the value in casting diversely and this production Of Mice and Men is a perfect vehicle for this.”
The company will also be offering performances for schools during the 10 day run at Chapter Arts Centre.