Jake’s Gift: Play depicts veteran’s emotional return to Normandy

By Charlene Wirtz

The Quill Plains Regional Arts Council helped bring a special performance to Kelvington on April 24.

Jakes’ Gift, a one-woman performance, is written and performed by Julia Mackey and directed by Dirk Van Stralen. It is about a World War 2 veteran returning to Normandy for the 60th anniversary commemoration of D-Day.

Evocative with moments of humour and pathos, the play affected the audience deeply. Mackey’s amazing performance, switching instantaneously and completely between the two main characters and several minor characters of the play, brought out both tears and laughter.

Kelvington’s was the 882nd performance of this play since its start 10 years ago, but playwright Mackey does not slacken.

“I really enjoy meeting people afterward and hearing their stories of who their ‘Jake’ (veteran) is,” she told the News in an interview. “So many have a ‘Jake’ in the family; so many graves in the war cemeteries are for men from small towns like Kelvington. It means a lot when the Legion members show up, as they did tonight. I think of the story as a love letter to all our veterans.”

Mackey also presented a print from the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation to the Kelvington Legion.

The Pipestone Men’s Choir sang several wartime-era songs to close out the evening, with a lunch to follow.

Wadena News

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