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Wednesday, 21 August 2013 16:03

One-man show on Rosebud stage Aug. 28-30

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For nearly 30 years, Rod Beattie has been delighting audiences across Canada with the antics of stockbroker-turned-gentleman farmer Walt Wingfield and the oddball residents of Persephone Township.

Based on playwright Dan Needles’ real-life experiences, this fish-out-of-water story has become one of Canada’s most enduring comedies, spawning six theatrical sequels, two anthologies and a television series.
From August 28 to 30, Rosebud Theatre will present the first play in the series, Letter from Wingfield Farm, where Walt recounts his first year as a man of the soil through a series of letters to the editor at the local newspaper.
He trades his stressful city life for the promise of idyllic, pioneer farming with unexpected — and often humorous — results.
“I think there’s a bit of Walt Wingfield in so many of us,” says Adam Furfaro, executive director of Rosebud Centre of the Arts. “The desire to get away from it all is a big part of what draws people to visit the arts hamlet of Rosebud. Matching this beloved one-man play with our unique rural setting will be a real treat for our audiences.”
To say Wingfield is a one-man play is technically accurate, as there is only Beattie onstage, but this veteran comedic actor instantly uses an arch of the back, a jut of the chin or a wide-eyed expression to make audiences believe they are seeing a whole cast onstage, including Walt, his neighbour Freddy, Ed the newspaper editor, and a host of other characters.
During this summer’s remounting of Wingfield at Victoria’s Belfry Theatre — where each of the seven plays has premiered — Beattie will mark a milestone with his 4500th appearance as Walt Wingfield on stage.
Even though he’s performed it thousands of times, Beattie says he never tires of performing the role of Walt Wingfield.
He recently told B.C. writer Mary Ellen Green of Monday Magazine: “Other plays that I’ve done much less I’ve got tired about, but I’ve never felt that about Wingfield,” says Beattie. “I’ve always felt a slightly pacific joyfulness about the prospect of going to that place for a while and taking other people there. After 28 years it’s a good place and a healing place.” 
He adds, “In many ways, I’d like to be more like Walt, he’s an admirable guy, he has perseverance, he leads with his chin, he has an enormous sense of humanity and tolerance about him, plus he has the ability to laugh at himself.”
“There’s a reason Wingfield has been one of Canada’s largest theatrical success stories,” says Furfaro. “Parents, grandparents and teenagers alike will appreciate the gentle humour and shared humanity this story has to offer.”  
Letter from Wingfield Farm runs August 28 to 30 at Rosebud Theatre. Dinner and theatre tickets start at $50. Phone the Box Office at 1-800-267-7553 to book or visit Written by Dan Needles. Directed by Douglas Beattie. Starring Rod Beattie.
At Rosebud’s Opera House Stage will be Cotton Patch Gospel which goes until Aug. 24; Our Town Sept. 13 – Oct. 19; It's a Wonderful Life Nov. 1 – Dec. 22.

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