Monday, April 04, 2011

jake's gift | playwright's notes

A note from JAKE'S GIFT playwright and performer Julia Mackey.

Photo by Tim Matheson
In the spring of 2002 Ron Reed invited me to be part of a three week intensive mask characterization workshop. He said it was one of the most amazing workshops he had every experienced. He had taken it himself at college and the experience enabled him to create a fully developed character that he knew inside out and backwards in every situation. I loved the idea of creating and learning every aspect of a character as both an actor and writer and jumped at the chance to partake. On day one of the workshop we were asked to choose a mask that we felt drawn to. The mask I chose looked to me like an old man. Through intensive physical, vocal and improv exercises over those three weeks, Jake was born. He was a cheeky, grumpy old man with a well hidden heart of gold who told it like it was regardless of who was listening. I fell in love with him, and knew I wanted to create another piece around him. The storyline I had started to build in that workshop was about three brothers and their connection to WW2. In the summer of 2004, I travelled to Normandy, France for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. I spent six days interviewing dozens of veterans who had returned for the anniversary and slowly through my interviews and my own experiences in France, Jake's story started to evolve. In 2007, we started performing Jake's Gift at festivals, theatres and schools across Canada. To date we have performed Jake's Gift over 400 times for more than 60 000 people, in 100 communities across Canada from coast to coast to coast. We are thrilled to be bringing Jake "home" to Pacific Theatre, where he first came to life exactly nine years ago. It is an event we've been anticipating all year, and we couldn't be happier to be part of Pacific Theatre's 2010/11 Season.


Anitta said...

Jake's Gift

Julie, you have set new standards. Your performance is etched into my memory. I laughed and cried. You transported me to Normandy. My late father-in-law was one of the Canadians, but he never went back. My husband wiped away tears after the performance was over. 
Bring the show back to the Toronto area so my kids can experience p'tite Isabelle and Jake, please!
Thank you.

Jules Mackey said...

Hi Anitta. thanks so much for coming to the show and for your kind words. We will be heading to Toronto right after this run. We'll be at Factory Theatre from April 19th to 24th so I hope your kids can make it.