news | Friday January 24, 2014

In Review: Seeds at the PuSh Festival, Vancouver

[image: Wasserman, McLachlan Gray, and Peterson at PuSh Festival 2014]

Above (L–R): Jerry Wasserman, John McLachlan Gray, and Eric Peterson chat with the audience during the after-show conversation.

Seeds, starring Eric Peterson and Liisa Repo-Martell, is currently running at Vancouver’s PuSh Festival. The PuSh Festival has certainly accomplished a number of its goals by bringing this production across the country (it has been staged in Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary), disseminating it and pushing the issues it raises. Seeds was reviewed this week by The Province.

Annabel Soutar’s documentary play brings together verbatim quotations from nearly every player in the groundbreaking Canadian court case about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including Percy Schmeiser himself, the Saskatchewan farmer who – as many see it – stood up to multinational corporation Monsanto when it – as many see it – insinuated its patented seeds onto an overwhelming number of Canadian farms. This documentary drama lays before its audience the actual words of Schmeiser, Monsanto representatives, the lawyers on either side, other Saskatchewan farmers, scientists from a variety of backgrounds (and biases), all taken from interviews and trial transcripts. The playwright herself is a central character, taking the audience along in her investigation of the various and multifaceted issues and perspectives, ultimately asking the same question Percy asked in court: “Who owns life?”

After the show, “the best actor in Canada” was joined onstage by his long-time artistic collaborator, John McLachlan Gray (co-creators of Billy Bishop Goes to War) as well as panel moderator Jerry Wasserman. The three discussed their work on this and other plays, and the audience was delighted to hear Peterson – who hails from Saskatchewan, just like his character – discuss his acting methods and his personal challenges with and enjoyment of Seeds.

Seeds runs at the PuSh Festival until Sunday (Jan. 26).

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