I Had a Job I Liked Once by Guy Vanderhaeghe

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I Had a Job I liked. Once.
Guy Vanderhaegh takes us back a few decades in the retelling of a court case in small town, Saskatchewan in the play, “I Had a Job I liked. Once.” Using elements of style, staging and developing characters throughout the play Vanderhaegh portrays to the audience the theme of the biases and prejudices that come with living in a small town.

The story is set in small town Saskatchewan in a police station office, on the night of August of 1957. Corporal Heasman has brought in Les Grant on the account of accused rape Tracy Tolbertson, and the play follows the questioning of Sergeant Finestad to Les, who retells his involvement with Tracy, the daughter of Mr. Tolbertson, the local crown attorney. The story has many sub conflicts; the tension between Finestad and Tolbertson being a main one. Tolbertson wants his daughter’s accused rapist behind bars, but Finestad wants to get the whole story instead of just listening to Tolbertson. Then there is the conflict of Finestad with himself; for years he has followed the law and stuck to the book, but in this case he is having a hard time sticking to the black and white because he feels that there is more to the story. All these sub conflicts underlie to the main conflict of the prejudices and biases that come from living in a small town, and the difficulties that come with dealing with that. These conflicts all lead up to the climax where Finestand goes against Tolbertson and against the prejudices of the town and lets Les Grant go, without charging him.

Vanderhaegh does a very good job of developing the characters in this play. We are first introduced to Sergeant Finestad who has a very strong character-he likes being charged and doesn’t do well with being told what to do. Finestad undergoes a very big character change through the course of this play. At the beginning, Finestad is very strict to the law, strict to the rules. As he says to Heasman before Les is brought in to be questioned,...
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