A play about the volunteer spirit behind last summer’s ‘Pride of Place’ competition in Fore made it into the top three at last week’s RTÉ Drama Festival’s ‘Write A One Act Play’ competition. The judges selected Megan D’Arcy’s script from over 200 sent in from schools across Ireland.
“I had been told that my play was in the final seven. But not where I had placed,” says Megan.
“They awarded the places in reverse order, so as the description of each play was called out I was saying ‘that’s not me so maybe I am in sixth, that’s not me maybe my play was fourth’ then when they called third place; they described my play.
“They called it ‘a Cinderella piece’, although that was not what I was thinking about when I wrote it.
“The play is about cleaning up after a big community celebration and the great impact it had on everyone. How it raised everyone’s spirits a bit.
“The judges thought it was really funny and they all came over to me during the day to offer feedback and advice.
“They loved the play but felt the ending lacked something – like an unexpected turn of events or a resolution of a conflict.”
Megan is a student at Castlepollard Community College and was joined by her friend Rebecca O’Keeffe in Athlone for the announcement.
“I was really glad I had Becky with me as it was nerve wracking waiting.
“Becky and I competed in the BT Young Scientist together and again at the SciFest; so she came with me for company and support to Athlone and gave up a day visiting DCU.”
Megan thought the other students whom she met at the awards were lovely.
“One of the girls, when they called out her introduction they said she loves football, Bones and Grey’s Anatomy – and I was like ‘that’s exactly like me!’. That’s what I would have said if they had asked me to pick my three favourite things.
“The winning play was brilliant, it was about a granny and a volunteer in her nursing home that turns out to be her grandson, but it took a dark twist.”
Megan has dyslexia and puts in a lot of extra hours for English because she loves it so much.
“I love studying plays, set design and casting and what influences the themes.
“The judges’ feedback was brilliant. It was practical advice based on how to improve the play from an audience point of view.
“I am really grateful for all the time they spent with me at the awards ceremony and how kind they were about the play.”
Megan is looking forward to getting back into studying plays in school:”At the minute I am reading lots of Stephen King and Margaret Atwood and a great debut novel by Hugh Flanagan called ‘Hiding Ugly Children’.
“I asked my mum how you improve your writing and she said the only thing to do is read lots and chose well.
“Next year we are doing Hamlet in school and I can’t wait.”