Production puts justice on trial

Is justice black and white? Is it handed out to everyone in the same way?

Stage setup: Set director Mike Nash and lighting technician Jean Angers prepare the stage for the upcoming production of I Had A Job I Liked Once opening Friday at Shuswap Theatre.

Stage setup: Set director Mike Nash and lighting technician Jean Angers prepare the stage for the upcoming production of I Had A Job I Liked Once opening Friday at Shuswap Theatre.

Is justice black and white? Is it handed out to everyone in the same way?

These issues are the subject of Saskatchewan author/playwright Guy Vanderhaeghe’s award-winning play, I Had a Job I Liked. Once, which opens Friday at Shuswap Theatre.

Director Marcus Smith says the play, set in small-town Saskatchewan in 1967, focuses on the interrogation of young Les Grant, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, for an alleged sexual assault on the daughter of the town’s affluent and powerful Crown prosecutor.

A by-the-book RCMP officer is determined to get the accused a fair hearing.

That hearing is what the audience witnesses, sometimes as conversations, sometimes as reenactments of events.

Winner of the Canadian Authors’ Association Award for Drama, the play is definitely an adult-only production that contains coarse language.

“He doesn’t have to have to use profanity, but he uses the language in such a way that it is for the sake of real conversation, not for the sake of shock,” says Smith of Vanderhaege’s powerful writing.

An electrician by day and theatre board member by night, Smith is the resident sound technician and has appeared onstage.

He cut his acting teeth on Dancock’s Dance, another Vanderhaege play, and directed Shuswap Theatre’s production of Emily.

Smith says he jumped at the chance to work with younger actors, Dominic Young and Tasha Drolet, who are both 17.

“And one of the best parts has been the incredible crew – Don Wilcox and Mike Nash; they’ve created something incredibly beautiful and functional out of my crazy harebrained ideas,” he says. “The set is both a place and another character in the play.”

The play runs on three weekends from April 29 to May 14 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Sunday matinees are at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at www.shuswaptheatre.com, at Intwined Fibre Arts or at the door.