A shared interest in World War 1 poetry brought co-directors Kerrie McCormick and Helen Watson together to take on Banbury Cross Players February 2018 production of David Haig’s My Boy Jack. Both grew up with Rudyard Kipling stories such as The Jungle Book and Just So Stories and both were impressed with David Haig’s script. “There isn’t an ounce of spare language in the piece” says Helen. “It is so emotional and highly charged. I absolutely wanted to direct”.
Haig’s piece focuses on Kipling the man – gentle and understanding, but a keen imperialist and patriot. He enthusiastically wrote poems and pamphlets that supported England’s intent to restore Belgium after the German occupation. There is a feeling he would have been ashamed of his son, John (“Jack”), if he hadn’t joined up. John gives the impression of not wanting to be left behind or letting his father down.
Kerrie recently visited Bateman's – the 17th century farmhouse in East Sussex which was the Kipling home for over 30 years. The property was bequeathed to the National Trust by Kipling’s wife and is open to the public. Kerrie was very moved to see Kipling’s books and Jack's school uniforms. “I felt like I was walking in his footsteps. It was very poignant and is definitely worth a visit for any Kipling fans”.
The cast of eight - including two new faces and one making a welcome return after six years - and the crew of twenty (yes, it really does take all those people to get a show together!) have been working hard to do justice to David Haig’s script.
Set designer, Chris Garrett, has been scouring the internet for the best option on manufacturing prop barbed wire whilst the props team have had their work cut out sourcing dozens of sand bags. The cast too have been doing their homework. Philip Fine (playing Rudyard Kipling), at a recent BCP acting workshop during an exercise on character back stories, wowed the other participants with his in-depth knowledge of Kipling’s family history. All in a day’s work for members of Banbury Cross Players who continue to strive to bring quality theatre to its Banbury audience.
"a perceptive analysis of a family of their time" - British Theatre Guide 2004
My Boy Jack
opens at The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park Road, Banbury, OX16 5QE on
7 February 2018, 7.30pm and runs until 10 February 2018
Tickets are available from The Mill Box Office on 01295 279002 or online