Award-winning Jake’s Gift by Julia Mackey Returns to Nanaimo
April 25-27 at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre
“The only two things that can satisfy the soul are a person and a story.” – G.K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men
Take a trip back to Juno Beach with a WW2 veteran, in TheatreOne’s presentation of the award-winning Jake’s Gift by Julia Mackey, on stage at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre Thursday to Saturday, April 25-27 at 7:30pm, and Saturday, April 27 at 2pm. Tickets are $30, $15 for students, and $25 each for groups of 8 or more, from theatreone.org or 250-754-7587.
Jake’s Gift is a surprisingly funny multi-award winning drama that tells the story of a Canadian World War II veteran’s reluctant return to Normandy, France, to find the grave of the brother who never came home. While revisiting the shores of Juno Beach, Jake encounters Isabelle, a precocious 10-year-old from the local village. Isabelle’s inquisitive nature and charm challenge the old soldier to confront some long-ignored ghosts – most notably, the war-time death of his eldest brother, Chester, a once promising young musician. At its heart, Jake’s Gift is about the legacy of remembrance and makes personal the story behind one soldier’s grave.
In June 2004, Julia Mackey traveled to Normandy, France, for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. It was one of the most moving and powerful experiences of her life. During that week long journey, Julia interviewed dozens of Canadian, British and American WW2 veterans who had returned for the ceremonies. For many, it was their first time back to France since the war. The stories they shared with Julia and her own life-long interest in Remembrance Day inspired the development of the play. In August 2006, the first draft of Jake’s Gift received a workshop performance at the Sunset Theatre’s Exploration Series in Wells, BC.
Since January 2007, Juno Productions has toured Jake’s Gift to theatres, festivals, community halls, schools and Legions in over 250 communities across Canada. Internationally, they’ve taken the show to Washington State, Tiverton & Birmingham, England, and to Normandy, France, for the 70th & 73rd Anniversary of D-Day, where Julia performed Jake’s Gift in French in venues right on Juno Beach! Juno Productions and Jake’s Gift have received rave reviews from critics and audience members alike whether in small rural towns or big city centres. Now in their 12th season of touring Jake’s Gift, Julia and Director/Stage Manager Dirk Van Stralen continue to enjoy sharing this timeless story with communities across Canada and beyond.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Jake’s Gift is the most theatrically pure show I have ever seen. Julia Mackey delivers a stunning performance. So well fleshed out are her characters, so instantaneous are her transitions that it feels like an ensemble show.” – Katie Nicholson, CBC Winnipeg
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “It’s hard to say which is better – her script about a reluctant veteran’s return to Juno Beach or her twin performances as a 10-year-old girl and 80-year-old man – both of which, in 60 minutes, speak more to the heart about Canada’s role in WWII than would a six-hour NFB documentary.” – John Threlfall, Monday Magazine, Victoria, BC
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Julia Mackey is an eminently watchable actor and her transformations between characters are stunning and nuanced.” – Bryan Birtles, Vue Weekly, Edmonton, AB
Jake’s Gift runs Thursday to Saturday, April 25-27 at 7:30pm, and Saturday, April 27 at 2pm at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre. Tickets are $30, $15 for students, and $25 each for groups of 8 or more from theatreone.org and 250-754-7587.