Ponoka playwright brings story to life in Calgary

A Ponoka-born woman has created her own adaptation of the characters in Jake and the Kid and is bringing them to life with Theatre Calgary on the Max Bell Theatre stage.

By Jasmine Franklin

Years ago, Canadian W.O. Mitchell created a story that people fell in love with; today a Ponoka-born woman has created her own adaptation of the characters in Jake and the Kid and is bringing them to life with Theatre Calgary on the Max Bell Theatre stage.

“I would be delighted if anyone could make it to Calgary to see it,” writer Conni Massing said. “I think a lot of people will recognize the characters in the play as a tribute to their backgrounds.”

The series “Jake and The Kid” began as a radio program about the lives of farmers and agriculture, and in particular, an over-embellishing hired man named Jake, and The Kid who takes what Jake says very literally.

This combination leads to all kinds of adventures that had listeners, and soon viewers, hooked. In the early 1990s it became a television series starring Ponoka’s Shaun Johnston, and now it has become live entertainment with a touch of Massing’s artistic flare.

“My adaptation of ‘Jake and The Kid’ takes about five previous plots and I sort of wove them together to create one story,” Massing said. “This version occurs in 1944 where The Kid’s father is off fighting in World War II, and he is living on a farm with his mother and Jake through a terrible drought.”

Through an angry statement Jake throws at his neighbours in which he claims he can produce rain, he finds himself in a position where the whole town, and The Kid, are pressuring him to follow through on his claim.

Massing grew up in Ponoka and transferred to the University of Alberta where she received her master’s degree of fine arts in playwriting. Today, she lives in Edmonton and has had about 20 of her plays professionally produced.

To buy tickets for Massing’s adaptation of Jake and The Kid on Sept.11 to 27, call (403) 294-7447 or Ticketmaster at (403) 299-8888. Tickets range from $31 to $46.