Spalding teacher’s lightbulb moment

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Post 16 Centre drama students should have the new play they are working on pitch-perfect.

That’s because the writer of the play is on hand at the Spalding college to help the young people develop it fully.

Darren O'Sullivan reads through his play, My Lot, with students at the Post 16 Centre. Photo: SG170914-137TW

Darren O'Sullivan reads through his play, My Lot, with students at the Post 16 Centre. Photo: SG170914-137TW

The author is their drama teacher Darren O’Sullivan who also works at the Sir John Gleed School.

Darren says if the play works in Spalding, he intends to send copies to other schools and theatres.

The play, My Lot, was inspired by a “ridiculous conversation” in Darren’s family that only took place because the lights went out.

Darren says: “I thought, ‘This would be a good idea for a play’, and the light came back on and we got on with our lives.”

Unlike his own family, the one in Darren’s play is dysfunctional – for instance, the father doesn’t realise his eldest daughter is at university, and she’s been there two years.

However, as in Darren’s experience, without the distraction of the television the family start to communicate.

Darren says: “It’s a comedy based on the things they find out about each other, challenging things. Actually, when the chips are down, everybody is okay and the blackout makes them see a lot of home truths and that they are a better family than they realise.”

It’s a brave move to write a play, something that will appeal mainly to people with an interest in the theatre, and Darren admits he wasn’t confident it would be published.

However, he approached the company, AUK Publisher, that produced his first, children’s book last year, The Sleep Taker. They said it would work, but suggested some changes, which is when Darren turned to some of his friends in the trade.

As well as acting when he was younger, Darren directs Polka Dot productions and Limelight Youth Theatre in Spalding and has connections with the John Clare Theatre at Peterborough.

He says: “The best way to polish a play is to read it and play it and actors tend to improvise. Eight of my friends started working on it and some of the final lines are things they said when we were improvising.”

In fact, because of the work they had put in to it, they ended up putting the play on the stage at the John Clare Theatre in early September. Hopefully, it will be staged in Spalding too before too long.

My Lot – A Two Act Comedy, £5.99,ISBN: 978-1-78333-886-3.