LETHBRIDGE - Southern Albertans have a chance on Saturday (Apr 14) to take in a multi-award winning Canadian play about a World War II veteran’s reluctant return to Normandy, France, for the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day landings.
The play, entitled "Jake's Gift" has been performed in the U-S, Enland and France. In its 11th year, it makes its way to Lethbridge.
Playwright and perforer, Julia Mackey, who has worked in theatre for about 25 years, spoke with LethbridgeNewsNow about the play's emotional journey.
"It was a play that was born out of my own experience of going to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, back in 2004 and I interviewed as many veterans as I could about their experience of being back there for the anniversary and what it was like during the war - for a lot of them, it was their first time back since the war and it was a very emotional experience. So, the play is really a love letter to all veterans to thank them for their service."
Mackey says interviewing the soldiers was one of the most moving experiences of her life and feels the play is her way of thanking the soldiers.
As for the context of the play, Julia says the story revolves around a WW2 veteran who reluctanty returns to Normandy, to find his brother's grave. While he's there, he meets a young Fench girl who is obsessed with the returning soldiers who are there for the big anniversary. The pair become
good friends and develop a grandfather-granddaughter relationship. The young girl pushes him to deal with some unresolved ghosts, including the death of his eldest brother, and encourages the war vet to have a final graveside conversation with his brother, when he does find the grave.
While here for the play, five memorial plaques from the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation will be presented. The mandate of the foundation is to create a memorial plaque for every Canadian killed in action, between the Boer War and Afghanistan and many of the fallen are from Lethbridge. The foundation continues to do research on individual soldiers (which can take quite some time) and presents plaques, usually to the Legion in their home community.
Following the play, a print called Fall Hero will also be presented to the Legion.
The play "Jake's Gift" runs about 65 minutes with no intermission and is suggested for ages 10 and up.
The performance will be held in the Memorial Hall of the Lethbridge Legion on Mayor Magrath
Drive at 2:00-pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Legion for $20.
For more information about the play, check out www.jakesgift.com
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