News / Halifax

Documentary play debuting in Halifax tells the story of farmer's fight with GMO giant

Seeds, debuting at Halifax's Neptune Theatre this week, tells the story of Percy Schmeiser, a farmer accused of planting Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds.

Actors Amelia Sargisson, Eric Peterson and Tanja Jacobs act out a scene from Seeds on the Scotiabank Stage at Neptune Theatre in Halifax on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2017. The documentary play telling the David versus Goliath story of a Saskatchewan farmer’s fight against Monsanto runs till Oct. 1.

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Actors Amelia Sargisson, Eric Peterson and Tanja Jacobs act out a scene from Seeds on the Scotiabank Stage at Neptune Theatre in Halifax on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2017. The documentary play telling the David versus Goliath story of a Saskatchewan farmer’s fight against Monsanto runs till Oct. 1.

A play making its debut at Neptune Theatre this week tells the real-life story of a Saskatchewan farmer’s fight against GMO giant Monsanto.

Seeds, produced by documentary theatre company Porte Parole and directed by Chris Abraham, tells the story of Percy Schmeiser, a farmer accused of planting Monsanto’s genetically modified canola seeds on his farm.

Actor Eric Peterson, known for his roles in Canadian TV series Corner Gas and Street Legal, plays Schmeiser.

“As an actor it’s fun to play the little guy against the big Goliath,” Peterson said in an interview.

“This play was also interesting to me because it’s documentary theatre. I’d never done one of these plays before, where you work in this way.”

The dialogue, written by Annabel Soutar, is taken verbatim from interviews with the real-life characters and court transcripts.

Peterson said it invites the audience to think about the court case that inspired it, in which Schmeiser went to the Supreme Court of Canada, eventually losing to Monsanto.

“We’re not watching some entertainment that’s trying to take us out of our world. We’re watching an entertainment that allows you to think about it,” Peterson said.

But it doesn’t tell the audience what to think.

“It’s not a polemic in any sense. It doesn’t come out and say, ‘Percy is the good guy and Monsanto is the bad guy.’ That’s left up to you, the audience member,” he said.

The play has toured the country since its debut in 2012 in Toronto, getting rave reviews across Canada.

Seeds launched in Halifax on Tuesday night with a pay what you can performance, and runs on the Scotiabank Stage till Oct. 1. Tickets are available online at neptunetheatre.com.

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