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Prep students perform play based on Kipling’s Choice

Upper Canada College Prep history and geography head David Fraser came up with a unique way to honour Remembrance Day this year: writing a play that was performed by his students in Weston Hall during assembly on Nov. 9.

“Aside from the experience of performing in front of their peers, I think the play gave them a glimpse into a very sad moment in our collective history,” says Fraser.

Prep librarian Pam Love had earlier given Fraser a copy of Kipling’s Choice by Geert Spillebeen and asked him to think about doing a Remembrance Day presentation from it. The teacher read the book and then spent a couple of months coming up with a workable script for a play that students became involved with in late September by studying the text and themes and learning their lines.

“The book is about Rudyard Kipling convincing his son John to join the army so that he wouldn’t miss out on the experience of being a soldier during the First World War,” explains Fraser. “What makes this story so unique is that John was legally blind and, for some reason, this did not factor in to Rudyard’s thinking.

“Unfortunately, John was terminally wounded in his first battle. The play takes place immediately after his injury as he lies dying in a lonely field in France. Most of the play takes place in John’s head as he interacts with his past, his parents, his dad’s pro-war poetry and with the realization that he was dying.

“I tried to follow the book as closely as possible. Having said this, I condensed it down to seven pages. We focused the entire play on the last few moments of his life and the decision that led him to this point in his life.“