All of the past remembrance days, since I’ve been out of University, I’ve worked. I got a day off as a trade off, but I always missed not being in grade school and going to a ceremony. This year I could have gone with David to a ceremony, but I decided that in honour of Remembrance Day, I was going to go to Lunchbox Theatre’s presentation of Jake’s Gift.
The play is a one woman show about a war veteran who returns to the shores of Normandy for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. He meets a charming 10 year old girl who brings out the charm in him.
This play is a simple story of a Canadian war veteran coming back to the shores of his past. The ‘petit’ Isabelle strikes up conversation with him and this develops into a friendship. Jake’s Gift is compelling and warm, funny and touching. Created and performed entirely by Julia Mackey, the story carries the audience along in the palm of its hand (if it had one). Mackey transforms seamlessly from one character to the other, not even changing costume between changes. The characters are outlines by her demeanor, accent and expression and her performance is flawless. Isabelle is a curious and innocent little girl and Jake is an old man whose humour has not entirely left him, and the audience completely forgets that these two characters are played by one woman. Their bond will warm your heart and bring tears to your eyes. (This evening’s performance was rounded off by the little boy in the audience who said ‘Dad, don’t cry!’)
Jake’s Gift is a contender for one of the top plays I’ve seen this season and is not to be missed.