Paternity and patriotism clash in Company of Ten production

PUBLISHED: 07:05 06 November 2014

My Boy Jack

My Boy Jack

© 2013 surrealimages.co.uk/Steven Else

Home is where the heart is in My Boy Jack - and the Company of Ten has gone the extra mile to recreate the drawing room of Rudyard Kipling’s family home in Sussex for its next production.

Set shortly before and during the First World War, My Boy Jack focuses on the anguish of Kipling, who is torn between his loyalty to king and country and his love for his son, John – or Jack, as he is known.

Just 16 and severely short-sighted, Jack has been deemed unfit for active service yet Kipling passionately believes it is his duty to fight.

Three-quarters of the action takes place in the Kipling home, Bateman’s, a 17th-century house in the Sussex Weald which now belongs to the National Trust.

The rooms remain much as the family left them and in order to recreate the setting as faithfully as possible, set designer Judith Goodban and team member Joan Parry visited the property in the summer to research it in person.

Judith said: “We had a lovely day at Bateman’s inspecting the heavy oak furniture and exotic artefacts, measuring the mullioned windows and wide doorways, and chatting to caretaking staff. It was very inspiring to see the room where Kipling spent so much time with his wife and children, and while our set is not an exact recreation – for practical reasons, our fireplace had to be a bit smaller – we’ve done our best to produce something very close to the original.”

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre Main Stage at 8pm tomorrow (7) and Saturday (8) at 2.30pm on Sunday and again at 8pm from next Tuesday, November 11, to Saturday, November 15. To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.

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