Murdered teen's sister praises play put on by Haverhill school
A hard-hitting play depicting the tragic true story of a pupil who was murdered after being groomed through a gaming site has been performed in front of the victim's mum by students at Samuel Ward Academy.
Game Over, written by playwright Mark Wheeller, tells the story of 14-year-old Breck Bednar who was murdered in 2014 after being groomed online by Lewis Daynes, 18.
Breck had been lured to Daynes's flat in Grays, Essex, where he was fatally stabbed.
Daynes pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.
Mr Wheeler's play now been recreated by students at the Haverhill school who performed the production in front of Breck’s mum, Lorin LaFave, and Mr Wheeller last week.
Matthew Russell, head of drama at Samuel Ward Academy, said: “We always like to push the boundaries with our drama students and really challenge them.
“Both in terms of content and the themes of online safety and mental health, Game Over certainly did that and I am delighted with how they all rose to the challenge.
“It was wonderful and a privilege to have Mark and Lorin attend the performance and spend time with the students.
“The play has a verbatim script, only containing words from interviews Mark carried out with Breck’s family and friends, and that just adds to the poignancy.”
Ben Frere who played Daynes, said: "Getting into such a dark and sinister role has been really quite challenging."
Izzy Willson, who played Lorin LaFave, added: "I found this process really difficult because its so hard to comprehend how she is feeling because it is so devastating so i tried to just think about my natural emotions and how i would feel in this situation.
"I think it would be so beneficial for all parents to have an understanding about the dangers of online gaming because it happens so easily, it's so easily done and young people as well just to be aware of these nasty characters."
After the show, Mr Wheeller, who also worked with students prior to the performance, tweeted: “What a wonderful evening last night at GAME OVER performance by @DramaSamuel
“What made it even nicer for me was Carly Bednar (Breck's sister) said publicly that she felt the play was the most affecting of anything anyone had produced about her brother's tragedy. So heartwarming.”
More by this authorSteve Barton