Tickets: Salisbury Tourist Information Centre, Fish Row, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 1EJ Phone: 01722 342860
Written by: David Haig
Directed by: Peter Kelly
Dates: Nov 18th – 22nd 2008 plus a Matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday 22nd
My Boy Jack begins comically, with 17-year-old Jack Kipling trying on a pair of pince-nez. He is unable to see well without correction, but his father, Rudyard Kipling, wants him to wear the pince-nez to take his vision exam; it will make Jack’s vision troubles look less serious. Jack fails the test, however; he cannot read the eye chart, without the pince-nez, from farther away than about a metre.
Jack, at home again, talks with Elsie, his sister. He explains that he wants to leave, in order to get away from “this house and everything”, and Elsie becomes angry with Jack– not because he wants to leave her, but because he could be killed, at war. Kipling comes into the room, and Elsie hides under a table. Kipling then tells Jack that he will get Jack into the army, somehow. After Kipling leaves, Elsie emerges, furious.
The act ends with Jack leading his men into battle.
This part of My Boy Jack deals with the Kipling family receiving the news of Jack’s ‘MISSING IN ACTION’.
Kipling and Carrie both feel guilt for their responsibility in sending Jack to war. Elsie reveals that Jack went to war, not out of patriotism, but to get away from his family. There is then a flashback to a time when Jack was only seven, showing Jack and Elsie with their father.
It is now 1924, and Elsie is marrying George Bambridge. Her parents, though still missing Jack, are beginning to move on; they are happy for Elsie.
Kipling has been interviewing Irish Guards who may or may not have seen Jack, two years ago, and has at last learned of his son’s last moments. The play then jumps forward nine years, to 1933.
It has been twenty years since My Boy Jack first began, in 1913. There are rumours of war, again, and Kipling wonders why the Great War was even fought. What was the point of his son’s death, if there will just be another war?
My Boy Jack ends with Kipling reciting his poem, My Boy Jack.
|Rudyard Kipling||Alistair Faulkner|
|Carrie Kipling||Lesley Bates|
|John “Jack” Kipling||Duncan Hallis|
|Elsie Kipling||Jenny McKinnel|
|Guardsman Doyle, Col Rory Pottle||Robert Windsor|
|Guardsman Bowe||Stewart Taylor|
|Mr Frankland, Major Sparks, Guardsman McHugh||Jez Jameson|