David Haig's play My Boy Jack is a dramatised account of how the writer Rudyard Kipling sent his son to his death in the First World War. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre, London, on 13 October 1997 (previews from 9 October).
The play opens in September 1913, in the drawing room at ‘Batemans’, the Kiplings' home in Sussex. War with Germany is imminent, and Rudyard Kipling is set on sending his severely short-sighted son, John (known as 'Jack'), to war. The plan triggers a bitter family conflict which leaves Britain's renowned patriot devastated by the warring of his own greatest passions: his love for children – above all his own – and his devotion to King and Country.
The premiere production was directed by John Dove and designed by Michael Taylor. It was performed by David Haig (as Rudyard Kipling), Belinda Lang, John Light (as John Kipling), Sarah Howe, Billy Carter, Fred Ridgeway and Dermot Kerrigan.
The play was revived at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, in 2004, and toured the UK. It was filmed for television in 2007, with Daniel Radcliffe as Jack and the author himself as Kipling.