Finn’s short story to be adapted for the stage this summer

Kyle Greenham kyle.greenham20@ed.cna.nl.ca
Published on June 2, 2016

Submitted photo
Jeff Pitcher writes and directs the adaptation of Tom Finn’s “Short’s Long Day.” The play is set to premiere July 19.

Theatre Newfoundland Labrador is preparing to perform a stage adaptation of “Short’s Long Day,” a short story written by Corner Brook-born author Tom Finn.

The work comes from Finn’s short story collection “Westsiders,” originally published in 2010. The book centers on life for Newfoundlanders in the 1940s and ‘50s, set in and around Corner Brook.

“Short’s Long Day” follows Short, a sergeant for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, as he walks through town following up on three cases from the previous night. A sergeant, who was a friend of Finn’s father, inspired the story.

The play’s director, Jeff Pitcher, adapted the story last fall and is preparing to begin rehearsals towards the end of June. Two actors have been cast – Jerry Etienne in the role of Sgt. Short, and Rachael Joffred.

“Essentially, Rachael plays almost all the other characters,” Pitcher said. “She’s changing characters throughout the story, playing men and women.”

Pitcher made this casting choice to retain the style of Finn’s original story.

“I wanted to capture the intimacy of the storytelling, so I didn’t want to take the full route of having eight or nine different actors.”

Finn’s agent sent Pitcher a copy of “Westsiders” two years ago. He felt the book showcased a real slice of life into Corner Brook in the 1940s and ‘50s, and has been long waiting for an opportunity to adapt one of its stories.

“It’s a little bit dark, but very realistic,” said Pitcher. “The story provides quite a good window into our past.”

Finn was pleased with the adaptation, but had no interest in getting personally involved with the writing process.

“It’s a whole other ball park, writing for the theatre,” Finn said.

His daughter is an actress working in Ottawa, where Finn also lives. She was excited when she heard the news of her father’s story being taken to the stage, but Finn himself is unsure if he will be able to make it to Corner Brook to see the play.

“I’d like to get out and see a performance, but being 85, travel is hard for me,” Finn said. “I’ll see how I feel when the time comes.”

Theatre Newfoundland Labrador is looking for a variety of venues in which to perform “Short’s Long Day” throughout the summer. Anyone who has a venue or an event where they would like to see the play performed is encouraged to contact the theatre at 639-7238.

“Short’s Long Day” is set to premiere July 19.