With more and more people dying from drug abuse year on year there obviously needs to be a change in the way we try and tackle the problem and effectively save lives. The idea of changing the fight to a more modern approach still gets a lot of strange looks as people want to stay away from the possibility of drug promotion, but this approach is finally getting some recognition. This play, produced by Michael Wheeler, is one of those such tactics.
The story is inspired from the tragic tale of Daniel Spargo-Mabbs. Dan was the younger son of Fiona and Tim Spargo-Mabbs. He was in the lower sixth form of Archbishop Tenison CE High School in Croydon, where he’d attended since Year 7. Dan was a well-liked boy in the local community, had a daily paper round, ran errands for the elderly people in his area and was a big help at the local church.
On the evening of Friday 17th January 2014, Dan persuaded his mum to let him go to a party, with a group of friends. On that night he chose not to go to the party that he had told his parents about and instead he went to an illgal rave. When he was there Dan took half a gram of MDMA, along with the rest of his friends. Four of his friends took the drug and it left them feeling euphoric, Dan had no idea that what he had taken was a lethal amountAs Dan was usually responsible, Fiona agreed that he could go. Dan and his friends went to an illegal rave instead of the party. It was the first time he’d been to a rave.
Dan’s body temperature soared to 42 degrees centigrade and above. At this temperature, the body’s organs can’t cope and they shut down. For a couple of hours his friends couldn’t find him, and when they did he was propped up outside the building in the rain with paramedics. he was kept on life support for a couple of days afterwards but on Monday 20th January, Dan died, surrounded by his loving family.
Stopwatch Theatre will start performing the play this week, targetting the young people in our society in the hope it will teach them the realities of drug taking. Schools and Colleges from all over have been desperate to get a chance for it to be performed in their institution and it is looking like it will be a massive success already. By presenting this story, which has traits that are becoming all the more common, through the medium of drama the Daniel-Spargo Mabbs foundation is hoping more lives can be saved.
The title of the play sums up the horrific circumstance Daniel died in, something that could be similar in many families, they were indeed his last words to his Mother. The story is split into two different viewpoints to show how things progressed for people on all sides of this tragedy.
Firstly, ‘I Love You Mum’, focuses on Dan’s friends and school, the night at the rave, the impact on everyone who knew him. Second comes I Promise I Won’t Die’, using information from interviews with Dan’s family, and his long-term girlfriend Jenna, moving back in time at first before progressing to how it affected everyone after Dan had died.
To sum it up this play is as real as it gets. It is there to shock, that is clear, but also to tell the story of the life of a lovely boy who made a silly mistake. Who knows how many Dans are out there considering trying something for the first time and who knows how many could be saved by a story like this. Forward thinking is needed to change this problems, so lets hope many more take inspiration and start spreading the word on drug safety.