I have to give a nod to Valerie Cardinal for my article this week because it is a bit like the feature she wrote Review Squared. I reviewed Seeds at the NAC this week and it appears I am the only one that felt it was not spellbinding.
On the surface this play had all the things I like; a fine cast, an interesting set, for the most part the use of multimedia was well integrated and at times very effective. Seeds used the space fully both onstage and front of stage. So why didn't it grip me.
There were two reasons primarily. I disliked the prelude which may well have been put in to demonstrate the power of investigative journalism, but I felt the questions and indeed follow up questions delayed and interfered with the clean start of the actual play.
I also thought that the concepts of copyrighting of genetics, of owning any part of life itself as intellectual property were intriguing. It was that Frankenstein side of the story; the possibility that by creating food that resists poison could we be poisoning ourselves. Have we invested enough time to understand how the genetic modification will affect us long term? The speech that Eric Peterson had that spoke to contamination was very compelling. The play brought up the questions but didn't go as far as I wanted it to.
The problem is that documentary theatre has an obligation to be true to the history of the story it is telling. How much of it is creation and how much is transcription? You can't go too far and rewrite history, but can you add some extra characters and point of view? It is very tricky. I hated James Cameron's Titanic because I thought the added plot was ridiculous when all the elements you needed to explore the inequities of the class structure were already present on the ship.
In the end, like the food we eat, what entertains and stimulates us is a matter of taste.