"Jack" is a story of shell-shock. Jack was born in 1889. The play opens in 1972. Jack is in a hospital corridor. He has lived in this hospital for many decades. On weekends he stays in the home of an elderly sister and her husband Sam. It is Saturday morning. He is waiting to be picked up. To himself, he vividly rehearses the never ending round of events and memories that took him from the safety of home and locality to serving as an under-age soldier throughout the the campaign on the Western Front. In the swamps of Ypres an extreme event tips him over the edge.
The Western Front campaign was something new in history, fully industrialised warfare. Soldiers returned devasted by exposure to sights sounds and stresses to horrible for the mind to absorb. The enormity of what the mentaly wounded brought back from the front forced civil society to change and make space for their pain.
My late uncle was fortunate in that he had a family right until his end. Many shell shocked soldiers from WWI were not so fortunate. Many survived into the 1970' without a family to anchor them, in institutions. They just faded away, their contribution and their shattered lives unremarked, forgotten. “Jack” is an attempt to restore these men to memory.
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Jack was was the uncle (mother's brother) of Steve Wale, the actor who gives these performances. Stephen has spent several years researching family history, the historical context, and the background.
Performances can be arranged in your own home for yourself and friends as well as in community venues. "Jack" fits in well with special events which commemorate The Great War. The play is highly portable, requiring only the actor, costume, light props, and adequate lighting.