THEATRE: In ‘Seeds,’ a farmer’s fight with a food giant stars ‘Corner Gas’ dad

Docu-drama play hits Surrey Arts Centre stage on Jan. 28-29

Eric Peterson stars in “Seeds

SURREY — First things, first: Eric Peterson isn’t entirely sure if there’ll be another “Corner Gas” reunion.

“We did the movie two years ago,” said the actor, best known for his portrayal of small-town dad Oscar Leroy. “That was a good reunion, but whether we’ll do another one, I don’t know. That one happened five years after we stopped shooting the TV show.… That was all a wonderful, wonderful experience.”

These days, the affable Peterson, 69, is more focused on growing “Seeds,” a thought-provoking theatre show touring to Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage this month.

He plays Percy Schmeiser, the Saskatchewan farmer caught in a four-year legal battle with bio-tech giant Monsanto.

Based on court trial transcripts, the “docu-drama” follows the company’s patent-infringement lawsuit against the defiant farmer, who in the late-1990s was accused of planting genetically-modified (GMO) canola seeds without a license.

“People get to hear both sides of the story,” explained Peterson was rehearsing the play in Montreal when the Now called.

“By the end of the play, who is right and who is wrong doesn’t seem to be the point of it anymore, because larger issues have come up for (the viewer’s) consideration,” he added.

“I think people get a great kick out of that kind of responsibility and respect the play brings to an audience, some complex issues. People are being entertained in an intellectual way. And people really have questions. Even at intermission, it’s interesting to see them chatting about what they’ve seen on the stage, how they view it.”

On a short tour of Metro Vancouver theatres, a cast of seven is featured in Annabel Soutar’s acclaimed play. In addition to Peterson, the actors are Bruce Dinsmore, Mariah Inger, Alex Ivanovici, Manon Adler, Cary Lawrence and Amelia Sargisson.

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW ‘SEEDS’ PROMO VIDEO)

“This isn’t the first time for us, other than the two new people we’re working into the show,” said Peterson, who first hit the stage in “Seeds” three years ago.

“I play Percy and Amelia plays Annabel Soutar, the writer herself, and the other five actors play multiple characters,” he explained. “Part of the fun watching it live is the actor transformations, and we have very, very clever actors, very good. It’s fun watching them be a man one moment and a woman the next, an old person, whatever it is. It’s all part of this unique storytelling that I find highly entertaining, that theatre magic, you know.”

Although Peterson has never met Percy Schmeiser, he has great respect for the farmer, having learned what the fellow Saskatchewanite and his family endured in its David-versus-Goliath-like legal scrap.

“You can only imagine standing up to a big company like that, one with unlimited resources, and they wanted to make a point,” Peterson said. “The case represented a pretty big cultural change in how farming is done. There are lots of (film) documentaries now about Monsanto and GMOs, but this is different, a documentary-theatre (play) showing all the legal issues. It’s fascinating to me.”

“Seeds” plays Surrey Arts Centre on Thursday, Jan. 28 and Friday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. nightly. For tickets and more show details, visit Tickets.surrey.ca or call 604-501-5566.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

 

Just Posted

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Spawning salmon returning to North Delta’s Cougar Creek

It’s early in the season, but the streamkeepers are hopeful it could be a good year for returns

Surrey White Rock Ringette Association ‘excited’ about world championships coming to Lower Mainland

Ringette Canada says the sport has reached record registration numbers

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unamanageable’

New chair of Metro Vancouver board is Burnaby councillor

The 40-person board is made up of elected officials from 21 cities and one First Nation

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Most Read