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Seeds

Seeds
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Annabel Soutar
Publisher: Talon
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 144
Pub. Date: 2012
ISBN-10: 0889227012
ISBN-13: 9780889227019

About the Play:

Seeds is a full-length drama by Annabel Soutar. Think you know what's on your plate? Think again. Centering on the four-year legal showdown between biotech giant Monsanto and a Saskatchewan farmer, Seeds leads us through a high-voltage labyrinth of political maneuvering, patent wars, cash-fuelled science and the global domination of the planet's seed supply.

Part courtroom drama and part social satire, Seeds presents an intelligent portrait of farming and scientific communities in conflict while penetrating the complex science of genetically modified crops. The play documents the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada showdown between Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser and biotech multinational Monsanto Inc., a David-and-Goliath struggle that cast Schmeiser as the small-farmer underdog fighting the unscrupulous major corporation. Monsanto accused him of growing their genetically patented Roundup Ready canola seeds on his property without paying the licensing fee they require. Through a suspenseful labyrinth of legal conflicts regarding patent rights, scientific showdowns about GM food and property clashes between farmers and the biotechnology industry, Seeds asks the essential question: "Can you patent a living thing?" Or as Schmeiser famously asked, "Who owns life?"

A most interesting aspect of the play is the ambiguity around the hero Percy Schmeiser. Is he a victim or an opportunist and self-publicist? Certainly, he's no innocent; as he keeps telling us, he's an experienced politician, in fact an ex-mayor. He's a believer who knows how to frame his beliefs to advantage. He can be grand and he can be petty – and as such he is antihero as much as hero.

Named the top play of the decade by Rover Arts in its review of English theatre in Montreal between 2000 and 2010, Seeds takes us back to the seminal moment when a single farmer stood up to international agribusiness and almost won.

Cast: 4 women, 3 men.

What people say:

"Soutar has done such a good job sowing the seeds of doubt that you wonder if this is nothing more than passionate rhetoric. Her play gives us plenty to think about, but leaves us to make up our own minds." — Globe and Mail

"Seeds is great journalism, and even better theatre." — Montreal Gazette

"Seeds has all the ingredients of a rile-you-up and make-you-think humdinger of a story." — Hour

"As narrative, [Annabel Soutar's] script is both thoughtful and exciting; it makes the science fairly clear and the personal issues convincingly complex … one of the most impressive docu-dramas I've seen." — National Post

"Soutar shows how messy and far-reaching controversies in Big Science have become, and how the restructuring of age-old relationships by new biotechnologies is being enforced and resisted. She wisely avoids heaping all the criticism on Monsanto, questioning Schmeiser’s motives and story as well." — Now Toronto

About the Playwright:

Annabel Soutar is a playwright, director and theatre producer. She is the artistic director of Porte Parole, a Montreal theatre company dedicated to creating and producing original documentary plays about contemporary social and political issues. Born and raised in Montreal, She studied English and Theatre at Princeton University in New Jersey where she completed her degree in 1994. While at Princeton, under the tutelage of renowned American playwright Emily Mann, Annabel learned about the documentary approach to theatre and since 1998 she has been applying it to plays she produces in Montreal.