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Actors from the Lichfield Players have been manning the trenches to prepare for their new production.
David Haig’s play My Boy Jack will be at the Lichfield Garrick from May 21 to 25 and to help draw some pre-show inspiration, members of the cast visited the Staffordshire Regiment Museum.
“My Boy Jack is all about Rudyard Kipling’s desire that his short-sighted son should enlist and fight in World War One, as well as the emotions and events that surround Kipling’s steadfast determination,” said director Chris Stanley.
“Audiences will see – and hear accounts of – fairly unsettling trench scenes on stage. In order to get a real idea of living and fighting conditions, the Staffordshire Regiment Museum near Lichfield very kindly let us spend some time at their reconstruction of a British World War One trench. We are so lucky to have this resource so close to home.
“Being able to see the dugout, the fire steps and the ladders leading up to barbed wire and No Man’s Land was incredibly helpful as these are all mentioned or are representative of where action takes place in the play.
“And the information about rats eating corpses, trench foot, infection and sheer loss of life struck a particularly chilling chord with the actors as it’s completely relevant to the experiences of Lieutenant John Kipling and Guardsmen Bowe, Doyle and McHugh in My Boy Jack.”
The play opens in 1913. War is imminent and Rudyard Kipling’s short-sighted son Jack fails his Army medical to sign up. Driven by his father’s expectations and patriotic pride, Jack finally enlists through a family contact and is despatched to France to fight.
But when news reaches home that sends the Kiplings into turmoil, Rudyard is forced to question what really matters and to confront his own internal conflict between duty and love.
The Lichfield Players present David Haig’s My Boy Jack at the Lichfield Garrick from May 21 to 25. Tickets are available from the box office on 01543 412121 or online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com.
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