Square John and the ‘One in Six’ Theory is a new play written by Derry Writers’ Group member Vin McCullagh and directed by Carl Campbell. The script itself was edited and adapted by Carl Campbell and Jim McClengahan, both founder members of ‘HereWeGo’ Theatre Company.
This story is set in a psychiatric hospital in N.Ireland. The eponymous‘Square John’ has been a patient for over 40 years. John grew up with thirteen sisters and was the victim of merciless bullying from them as he was the only son and heir to the farm. John’s ‘theory’ explains this treatment of him as the result of his sisters’ ‘weemin’stroubles’ and how it led to him being placed in the hospital following a breakdown.
The play unfolds as John, now institutionalised and suffering from an extreme form of OCD based on numbers and patterns, formulates his ‘One in Six’Theory. His Nurse and friend, Gerry McGann has championed this theory despite the scepticism he encounters from his colleagues who wonder if perhaps McGann should be amongst the patients rather than staff – or is Nurse McGann’s campaign a clever smokescreen for some other crafty plot?
The writer of this play, McCullagh has a unique insight into mental illness. Having experience as both a patient and a nurse, he has the understandings of both sides. McCullagh puts all of his experience into this production.
Square John is a dark comedy that examines the hidden world of the mental Hospital. At times farcical and others poignant; we are given a glimpse into the corridors and day rooms inhabited by staff, who maintained these regimes that dealt with many of society’s forgotten people.
This is a ‘Here WeGo Theatre’ production and runs at the Waterside Theatre in Derry on Tursday 23rd January and Friday 24th January. Tickets are priced at £10/8 and an opening night offer of two tickets for £16.