Patriotism is high in the early days of World War 1 and popular writer Rudyard Kipling is one of its most passionate and eloquent voices. He is immensely proud of his son, John “Jack” Kipling, who is determined to join the war effort despite being underage and extremely short-sighted. However, Jack’s intentions are not based on his duty to King and Country - he simply wants to escape the suffocating intensity of his famous father’s presence. Neither Jack’s mother nor elder sister, Elsie, can understand Rudyard’s enthusiastic support for his son’s enlistment, but Kipling’s devotion to the Empire blinds him to the perils of the front line and the dangerous and uncertain future Jack will face in France.
"Have you news of my boy Jack?"
Not this tide.
"When d'you think that he'll come back?"
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide. (Rudyard Kipling)
My Boy Jack offers an intimate portrait of one family’s complex and divided experience through a war and its painful aftermath. This tenderly-written play does not promote or condemn conflict, but instead weighs family loyalties and national duty in the balance.
Based on the true story of one of Britain’s best-loved writers, the play was written by the Olivier award-winning actor David Haig in 1997. Haig also played Rudyard Kipling in the 2007 TV film which starred Daniel Radcliffe in the title role. Next Stage’s production showcases the talents of familiar and new company members in this unmissable start to 2013 at The Mission Theatre.