On Friday March 27, Salford audiences will be submerged into the tragic, beautiful life of Dan Logan.
Joe Walsh- Dan Logan
Debbie Sekibo- Anne Logan
Harry Moore- Jamesy
Directed by Sophie Ellicott
Dan Logan, a 22-year-old student who lived with his mum Anne Logan in Barrow-in-Furness, was an athletic, friendly lad who fell ill one weekend leading to his tragic death just 17 days later after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. Pearson’s adaptation looks at the life of young Dan and how his mother Anne came to write the book 17 Days.
It has taken over a year to write Live Forever. Pearson met Anne several times and immediately connected to the story.
He said: “She told me about her book and I read it. I was that moved by it I read it three times.
“I drove to Cardiff to ask her.
“In the play I wanted to do a celebration of his whole life.
“What really resonated with me was the closeness between the mother and son…She was best friends with her boy, how do you possibly get through that?”
Anne Logan herself shared her thoughts on being asked to turn her personal story into a piece of theatre.
She said: “I was stunned and (emotional); I went with my gut instinct and said ‘Do it’.
“The play is a humorous, emotional tribute to Dan, and I’ll always be grateful to Phil for adapting 17 Days to Live Forever.”
The auditions for the play saw more than 20 actors and actresses audition but Phil Pearson had his eye on Joe Walsh and Debbie Sekibo, to play the roles of mother and son from the start.
He said: “The chemistry between them is so believable. You would think that they are mother and son.”
Joe Walsh, 21-year-old actor and writer from Salford, spoke about being chosen to play Dan and what he believes the audience will get from his portrayal.
He said: “He was a family guy…I’m very close with my mum…my mum read the book and she was like ‘omg Joe’ getting very emotional about it and she said ‘imagine if that was you’.
“Obviously we’re looking at the 17 days when he is in hospital but around that there are nice happy moments, how friendly he was with his mates, having a good laugh, enjoying a good drink, playing rugby – he was a sportsman. So just a way for them to remember him nicely.”
The play looks at the close bond between mother and son. Anne had described Dan as being her “best friend”. It also addresses the issues of testicular choriocarcinoma and young men’s mental health.
Director, actor and Coronation Street star, 32-year-old Sophie Ellicott spoke about what she feels the play will do in raising awareness.
She said: “I feel like there is more to do. More conversations to be had.
“I hope it encourages them to talk about things…whether that is cancer related…mental health related. Just to start a conversation on how they feel.
“Dan Logan – he was a very important man and he did a lot of good in this world…I just feel that for him and Anne it would be…brilliant if people got to know that name.”
Debbie Sekibo, a 50-year-old actress, who has also appeared on Coronation Street and plays Anne Logan explained: “It does happen to people unfortunately and they do find hope out of such awful circumstances.
“I definitely think Anne is an inspiration.”
The play will combine sound with ‘naturalistic style’ theatre scenes as well as some ‘stylized movement’ sequences.
Phil Pearson said: “Sophie Ellicott the director has added so many different layers to it now and new dimensions to it. From the words on the page to bring it to a stage.”
The show premieres at Dan’s old rugby club, Hawcoat Park in Barrow-in-Furness on March 12. It reaches Salford on March 27 at Salford Arts Theatre at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £8 concession, £10 Full price. Tickets can be purchased here.