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Posted: Thursday May 12, 2016
Read a scene from Inside the Seed, a modern-day retelling of Oedipus Rex

Winner of the 2015 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Script, Inside the Seed is a contemporary version of Oedipus Rex reimagined as a darkly comic political thriller.

Mirroring controversial real-life scientific and corporate controversies, Inside the Seed concerns a once-brilliant scientist who made a startling discovery: a bio-engineered form of rice that could save an overpopulated world on the brink of catastrophic famine. The play examines how good, smart, well-intentioned individuals are drawn into, and corrupted by, complex institutional systems, be they corporate, military, or governmental.

The Charlebois Post wrote that “_Inside the Seed_ has important subject matter wrapped up in a sexy stylish production. Its corporate machinations are compelling and a little frightening when you realize most of the plot points are based on real-life examples.”

Read an excerpt from this high-stakes play below (taken from pages 33–37).


FOSTER
Thank you for agreeing to see me.

SUSAN
My husband doesn’t think it’ll accomplish anything, and my lawyer nearly had a heart attack.

FOSTER
And you? Why did you decide to come?

SUSAN
Because I think if someone accuses you of something, you ought to get to look them in the eye.

FOSTER
I appreciate your candour.

SUSAN
My family have been farmers going back more generations than most families can count. Four years ago, when we found out Demetech was planting test crops adjacent to our land, we got nervous. We’d heard stories. Someone called to assure us you were taking all necessary precautions … said you built a buffer zone to prevent contamination. (beat) That was the word they used. “Contamination.” (beat) Next harvest, when our crop came to yield, one out of every five plants had that orange hue. Your rice. Your Golden Grain. Year after that, it was more than half. Strange flowers too … weird hairs and petals. We called to let you know your buffer zone broke down. We saw this as our duty as your neighbours. Then your people showed up. Your … investigators. Said we stole the seed … threatened to take us to court. We told them it could have been the wind or … or bird droppings, but they didn’t believe us. We own this seed, they said. Our lawyer told us it would cost at least a million dollars to take the case to trial. So we paid your fine – we had no choice – signed your contract. We agreed to grow your crop and pay your fees and use your chemicals.

FOSTER
May I interject?

SUSAN
I’ve had five children, Mr. Bryant. Five perfectly healthy children. But then, after your rice contaminated our field … (pulling a sheaf of papers out of her purse) Demetech manufactures some of the most toxic chemicals on earth –

FOSTER
We make no such chemicals. Not anymore.

SUSAN
Heart and liver disease, nervous system disorders, physical deformities –

FOSTER
Mrs. Farmer –

SUSAN
I’ve done research. For the past year I’ve done nothing but research.

FOSTER
Please allow me to clarify your information.

Beat.

SUSAN
Clarify away.

FOSTER
This Demetech, my Demetech, is not the company that made those chemicals. We did not send those people to your farm. Not intentionally.

SUSAN
You sent them there by accident?

FOSTER
Years ago, Demetech funded research into plant and seed hybrids, including a project I worked on as a grad student. We created Golden Grain. It’s beta carotene. We tell the plant to move the beta carotene from the stalk and leaves into the grain itself. It’s perfectly safe and very healthy. So healthy and easy to produce it could save millions of lives every year. But Demetech abandoned the project to focus on making chemicals. I started my own company, and that company was so successful that a few years back I bought Demetech and shifted the focus back to plants and seeds; back to Golden Grain. This transition wasn’t easy. There were conflicts with personnel here … and unfortunately some pre-existing practices continued amid the confusion.

SUSAN
This test crop … was it planted before or after you took over?

FOSTER
The point I’m trying to make is –

SUSAN
Before or after?

Beat.

FOSTER
After, but I can assure you –

SUSAN
You buy this company, no matter what harm it’s done, then you turn around and say: No, wait! We’re not them! They’re not us!

FOSTER
That isn’t at all what I’m saying. I don’t want to approach this type of dispute from a litigious –

SUSAN
Your buffer zone broke down! Your seed took over my crop. Now I’m forced to grow your grain –

FOSTER
We don’t want to punish farmers who haven’t done anything wrong –

SUSAN
Forced to buy the chemicals to treat the crop we didn’t want –

FOSTER
We spend over two million dollars a day on research alone –

SUSAN
Dump waste in landfills, down storm drains, in streams –

FOSTER
Invest in technologies to make these new seeds –

SUSAN
Move along and leave your mess behind –

FOSTER
The right to protect our investment –

SUSAN
You contaminated my land!

FOSTER
Mrs. Farmer, please calm –

SUSAN
You contaminated me!

The baby starts to cry. She rocks the stroller back and forth.

Order your copy of Inside the Seed today.