Harvest is based on the real-life experience of my parents, who owned a farm in southwestern Ontario. They recently moved from the farm to the city and rented the house I grew up in to a lovely couple … who used the house to grow marijuana! The event was both deeply disturbing and very comic for them, and they showed great perseverance in dealing with the incident.
The play has been written for two actors, who play the elderly couple, as well as every other character. Like with improv, watching the actors take on all the various roles provides as much joy as the unfolding of the story.|
REVIEWS AND LINKS
Two-hander reaps a delightfully full Harvest - The Globe and Mail
Lunchbox Harvest Yields Comic Gold - Calgary Sun
Port Stanley's 'Harvest' play brilliantly scripted, performed - St. Thomas Times-Journal
True story yields good crop of humour and insights - Montreal Gazette
An honest crop of comedy - Vue Weekly
Acting is reason enough to see Harvest - Kamloops This Week
Harvest a bumper crop of acting talent - Cowichan News Leader
Harvest - The Omega
Act One opens in the raspberry patch as Allan and Charlotte wait for news on the fate of their house. To pass the time they bring the audience up to speed on what has happened with them, the house and their farm, taking on all the roles as required.
They begin by describing the need to sell the farm, then introduce us to their Hungarian neighbour Istvan. They sell the farm to Istvan for less than they were hoping, because he wants only the farm, not the house.
Allan and Charlotte move to a condo in the city and attempt to rent out the house where they raised their children. A young airline pilot named Ron rents the house; he is kind and outgoing, and the elderly couple do not suspect a thing.
However, neither Allan nor Charlotte can fully let go of the past. They continue to pick raspberries across the road and occasionally visit their new tenants. Istvan warns them of some suspicious activities, but neither Allan nor Charlotte fully realizes what is happening, until…
…they knock on the door one day to find the house deserted. Frightened out of their wits they explore the house and discover it has been devastated. When the police come, it is explained to them that “Ron” likely used the house as a grow-op.
Faced with extensive damage, Allan and Charlotte are turned away by the insurance company and must confront the possibility of financial ruin. Even a boycott of the insurance company by the local church, Lions Club and John Deere dealership fails to thaw their cold hearts.
Their only hope is an environmental assessment, which brings us up to the present moment. It is while awaiting the fate of their family home that Allan and Charlotte realize that this adversity has brought them closer together than ever, and has allowed them to rediscover their love for one another.
DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION HISTORY
January 2006: Harvest was commissioned by Lunchbox Theatre via Petro-Canada Stage One, a program which each year commissions 6 plays from playwrights across Canada. Over the past twenty years, the Petro-Canada Stage One program has allowed Lunchbox Theatre to commission more plays than possibly any other theatre in Canada.
April 2006: Ian Prinsloo, formerly Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary and currently freelance director, was the dramaturge in a successful development workshop.
March 26-April 14, 2007: Harvest was produced by Lunchbox Theatre, Ian Prinsloo director. The headline for the review in The Calgary Herald read “Harvest yields Comic Gold”. The review itself was equally favourable.
February 2007: Harvest won the 2007 Enbridge playRites Award, which provided funds to allow for a workshop the play at a location of the playwrights’ choosing.
May 2007: Harvest received support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, allowing Ken to expand the play from one act to two acts.
August 2007: A two-act version of Harvest was workshopped and received a public reading by The Ship’s Company Theatre in Parsboro, Nova Scotia featuring Charlie Rhindress and Gay Hauser. Dedicated to new work, The Ships Company has been bringing new work to rural Nova Scotia for over two and a half decades.
June 25 - August 16, 2008: the prestigious Blyth Festival in Ontario produced the world premiere of the two-act version of Harvest. Founded in 1975 to produce theatre that reflects the culture and concerns for the people of southwestern Ontario and beyond, The Blyth Festival has become one of the very few, if not the only, “500-seat” theatre in Canada producing Canadian plays exclusively.
2009-present: Harvest has been widely produced across Canada including*:
Port Stanley Festival Theatre (Port Stanley ON)
Victoria Playhouse (Petrolia ON)
The Red Barn Theatre (Jackson's Point ON)
Shadow Theatre (Edmonton AB)
Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover ON)
Live Bait Theatre (Sackville NB)
Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon, SK)
Theatre Orangeville (Orangeville ON)
Festival Players of Prince Edward County (Bloomfield, ON)
Hudson Village Theatre (Hundson, QC)
Lost and Found Theatre (Kitchener ON)
Western Canadian Theatre Company (Kamloops BC)
Chemanus Theatre (Nanimo BC)
Gateway Theatre (Richmond BC)
New West Theatre (Lethbridge AB)
There have been a lot of productions over the years. So many that we now believe Harvest to be the most produced play by an Alberta playwright of the 21st Century.
* If I have inadvertently omitted your production please be sure to contact me and I’ll add your name to the list.
"Harvest is contained in the book Harvest and Other Plays published by NeWest Press. Click below to order the complete script from one of these Canadian suppliers: