Seventy-year-old Jack is afraid of dying, or perhaps he’s afraid that he hasn’t lived, in this haunting play about memory, guilt and redemption.
While Anna prepares for her wedding, her father Jack is forced to confront the limits of his life. He is given a book on particle physics and suddenly realises how many things he does not know; he weeps when he discovers that the path of his life can be made into a single line on a map.
It is a play constantly in touch with history; Jack collects antique maps and is fascinated by research into the family’s ancestry which connects them to an eighteenth century cartographer and slave owner, though Anna is more interested in the discovery that they may also be descended from a slave. But this line to the past troubles the play, tying Jack to events he’d rather forget.
Mappa Mundi is a quiet and powerful story about trying to accept death, the past and the choices of the people we love. It premiered in 2002 at the Royal National Theatre, London.