As Bob Dylan once famously sang, “the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.”
That phrase likely holds more meaning to the case of Percy Schmeiser, the Saskatchewan canola farmer who was famously sued by the world’s largest biotech corporation Monsanto when it found evidence of its patented glyphosate tolerant genetic canola in Schmeiser’s seeds.
Schmeiser contested, saying the contamination was accidental (blown in by the wind) and that he owned the seed he harvested.
A four-year legal battle would ensue.
Porte Parole’s theatrical presentation of Seeds, to be presented by the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Feb. 6., is a dramatic re-enactment of that battle between Schmeiser and Monsanto.
Written by Annabel Soutar, the play sparks conversation and debate about genetically modified food (GMOS), bio patents and the future of food.
“I’m thrilled to be introducing audiences to playwright Annabel Soutar and her remarkable piece Seeds,” said director Chris Abraham, who is also artistic director at Crow’s Theatre. “When I read it for the first time, I couldn’t put it down. Her dogged pursuit of the truth is entirely gripping, as are her observations of the social and political implications of the paradigm shift in genetics happening under our feet.”
With a script taken from court trial transcripts and interviews with Schmeiser, Monsanto representatives, farmers, academics, lawyers and scientists from across Canada, Seeds leads the audience through a suspenseful labyrinth of legal conflicts around patent rights, scientific showdowns about GMO food, and property clashes between farmers and the biotechnology industry.
“I can’t wait for the conversation and debate that will be sparked by this show,” said Abraham.
Co-founded in 2000 by Soutar and actor Alex Ivanovici, Porte Parole is a bilingual Montreal theatre company dedicated to the creation and production of documentary plays about contemporary Canadian stories. Porte Parole has presented seven plays in Montreal and in regional theatres across Quebec.
In this February performance in Vernon, Canadian icon Eric Peterson (known for his TV roles on Corner Gas and Street Legal) plays the role of Schmeiser.
A journalistic docu-drama, Seeds lets the audience examine all sides of the debate and ultimately make their own decisions.
Seeds, the third of five shows in the Performing Arts Centre’s 2015-16 theatre series, takes the stage Saturday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults, $37 for seniors and $35 for students. Call the Ticket Seller at 250-549-7469 or order online at www.ticketseller.ca