Augustus Stephens has a severe mental illness and yet is taking on his biggest challenge to-date by playing six different characters in six dark comedies collectively called Altered Minds, Altered Realities, tonight (Friday 26 August) and Saturday 27 August at 7.15pm at Camden People’s Theatre.
From Larry, a private eye with a mystery to solve, to Gus, who is in a life and death struggle with a kebab, he portrays the characters that are based on the lives of real people with a variety of mental illnesses.
Augustus says “I have spoken to people up and down the country to create these characters, all of whom live with mental illness. You might see these people around and never know how they struggle to do the ordinary things most people find easy, and how they carry on bravely and sometimes thrive despite it all. But they are fascinating to talk to and I hope I have done them justice with what I have written.”
“I have had my own problems,” he says, “and I know what it’s like to be scared, overwhelmed and frustrated with myself. I wanted to give a voice to these people who are normally unnoticed and don’t have the opportunities to tell their stories like I have had.”. He is also curious to know which of the six characters people like the most, “They each have their peculiarities but also their own charms.”.
Augustus was a computer programmer for many years, but his mind “went somewhere odd” so he gave that up to do something to make himself and other people happy. He writes and performs plays and comedy about those with extraordinary lives, including his own, dusting them with a hint of magic to entertain and amuse.