Jake & the Kid comes to life in Ponoka

Conni Massing has come a long way from her Ponoka roots — she now lives in Edmonton and is one of Canada’s prominent playwrights

Conni Massing has come a long way from her Ponoka roots — she now lives in Edmonton and is one of Canada’s prominent playwrights — but she certainly hasn’t forgotten those roots. Massing is thrilled to have Klaglahachie Fine Arts (KFA) producing her stage version of W.O. Mitchell’s classic Jake & The Kid.

First seen in MacLean’s magazine in the 1940s, continuing as radio plays in the 1950s, as published short stories in the ’60s and again in the ’80s and as a TV series with Ponoka’s Shaun Johnston playing Jake in the ’90s, W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and The Kid has occasionally been seen on stage, but seldom as powerfully as the version KFA is presenting.

“Conni has collaborated with the late Mr. Mitchell to bring us this wonderful play based on, at its core, the story The Day Jake Made Her Rain. She has also included elements of several of the other stories as well as some new material, to craft a script that is perhaps as enjoyable as any I have had the privilege to work on over the years,” says director Danny Lineham.

“From the incredibly rich characters to their issues, problems, hopes and dreams, Mitchell and Massing have painted a picture almost all of us can understand and identify with,” Lineham added.

Those colourful characters are cast from community actors in and around Ponoka. “Being new to the area,” says Lineham, “I wasn’t sure what to expect. However I don’t think I could have found a much better cast. From experienced performers to total newcomers, they are giving me a full palette to work with, letting us present a town filled with the interesting and unique characters created by W. O. Mitchell back in the ’40s.”

Jake & The Kid plays Sept.7, Sept. 8 and the following weekend, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 at the Ponoka United Church. An old-fashioned prairie picnic dinner is available before the show, if desired. Dinner is at 6 p.m., with the show at 7:30 p.m. Dinner and theatre tickets available by phone, email, mail, or in person from Klaglahachie Fine Arts, 5020 – 52 Avenue, Ponoka, (403) 783-4087, klaglahachie@gmail.com.

Show only tickets, with a 7:30 p.m. curtain, are available from KFA and at Hamilton’s IGA, Ponoka Book Store or from Siding 14 Gallery of Art and Fine Craft.

—Submitted