By David Haig.
Directed by Caryl Rapps.
“Don’t tell me he was lucky! He wasn’t lucky, or…or brave, or happy! Jack was eighteen years and six weeks old! He died in the rain, he couldn’t see a thing, he was alone! You can’t persuade me that there’s any glory in that!”
So says Carrie Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s wife and mother of Jack (John) Kipling. My Boy Jack is a true story and tells of a nation at war offering an intimate portrait of one family’s complex and divided experiences in it.
Rudyard Kipling Hugh Leadon
John ‘Jack’ Kipling Matthew Sanderson
Carrie Kipling Samantha Elgar
Elsie Kipling Laura Gamble
Guardsman Bowe John Randoll
Guardsman Doyle Robert Hall
Guardsman McHugh Simon Church
Colonel Pottle Tony Rapps
Mr Frankland Ian Evans
Major Sparks Bernard Harriss
Director Caryl Rapps
Stage Director John Heather
Set Designer Tony Jenner
Lighting Designer Jon Lewis
Sound Designer Andrew Herbert
Set construction/decor Adrian Pope, Andrew Heather, Alice London, T62 crew
Technical support Ian James and T62 crew
Technical Operator James Quinn
Stage Manager Stuart Scott
Asst Stage Manager Alice London
Props Lynne Craig
Wardrobe Eve Stone and members of T62
Make-up & hair Penny Vetterlein, Jean Golder
Prompt Jessica Kellow
House Manager John Heather
Refreshments Audrey Knighton
Raffle Lynne Craig
Box Office Margaret Uzzell
Programme design Graham Copeland
Programme Editor John Guttridge
More photos below
The author Rudyard Kipling, famous for the Jungle Book, uses his considerable influence, being on a War Office propaganda think tank, to get his nearly 18 year old son Jack admitted for military service during the First World War.
Jack is only 16 years old at the beginning of the play and extremely short-sighted. Despite appearing eager to join the war effort he is repeatedly refused on account of his bad eyesight. However he is eventually enrolled in the Irish Guards, his father’s patriotic dream but his mother and sister’s nightmare.
This play by David Haig takes place before, during and after the First World War, between 1913 and 1933. It is set at Batemans in Sussex – the home of the Kipling family – but there are also scenes in the trenches of the Western Front.
It is a powerful play showing the futility of war and how a family back at home react to their son going to war. The trench scenes are particularly poignant as are the scenes following Jack’s disappearance.