This afternoon I was privileged to be in the audience at one of the last performances of Jakes Gift, a one woman play by Julia Mackey. The play replaced another one- Blast that had cancelled, so we heard about it through word of mouth from a nice gentleman in line with us at another play. Thank goodness we took his advice.
I haven't been that moved to tears and laughter in years. Actor Julia Mackey's seamless transitions from a grandmother to a 10 year old girl to an 80 year old male veteran was so moving, I was breathless watching her facial features and posture assume the roles. Her voice and mannerisms told a tale of love, loss, grief, and remembrance in a way that will certainly remain in everyone's memory forever.
Here is a synopsis of the play in case you catch it in Victoria- her next stop.
In June 2004, Julia travelled to Normandy, France for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, where she interviewed dozens of veterans who had returned for the celebrations. The experiences of the veterans and a lifetime of interest in Remembrance Day Ceremonies led to the development of the play, which received a workshop performance at the Sunset Theatre's Exploration Series in Wells, BC in August 2006.
This play has toured festivals across the country and they made their debut here in Edmonton this year. I am so glad I saw this play and I will certainly take heed of this year's celebrations as the veterans of World War II fade away with each passing year. Hopefully the reason they died won't.