RuBarb Productions’ program for Wingfield’s Folly is shown.
By Lisa Goudy
It takes a talented person to successfully star in a one-person play.
This is especially the case when that one person is playing multiple characters. You have to hold the stage on your own for several hours to captivate the audience.
Of course, part of the success of a one-person play has to do with the script, the set, the costumes and the lighting, but without a lead actor who can captivate the audience with his or her performance for that long, the play would fall flat.
Such an actor with extraordinary talent is Rod Beattie in the one-man Wingfield plays that follow Walt Wingfield, a stockbroker turned farmer living near the fictional small town of Larkspur, Ont. in Persephone Township, and his misadventures while attempting to make a living in the agriculture business.
Thursday night, RuBarb Productions’ newest season opened with Wingfield’s Folly, the third of seven Wingfield plays at the Mae Wilson Theatre at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre. The first play in the series, Letter From Wingfield Farm, was RuBarb’s first show of its 2014-15 season, and the second play in the series, Wingfield’s Progress was RuBarb’s first show of its 2015-16 season.
Wingfield’s Folly follows Walt Wingfield’s adventures during his third year on the farm. In it, he finally pinpoints the economic source of his farm troubles, but his new course leads him to his most troubling crisis. He sets up a closed economy with his neighbours and prints his own currency, all while falling in love.
Of course, if you’ve seen the first two Wingfield plays, you have all of the background, but even if you were a newcomer to the world of Walt Wingfield,it is a joy ride that you can follow easily and enjoy.
Beattie’s different voices, gestures, his wit and his captivating stage performance not only entertains with laughter, but also with solemnity and an overall engaging performance.
The way he pauses for dramatic effect, the way he moves, the way he speaks and the way he changes costumes makes it easy to follow what’s going on and to enjoy every moment of it.
Beattie has lots of experience playing Walt Wingfield, so much so that he really has become Walt Wingfield and the other characters in Walt’s life. On Aug. 4, 2013, Beattie’s matinee performance of the first Wingfield play, Letter From Wingfield Farm, at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, B.C. marked Beattie’s 4,500th performance of a Wingfield play in a little under 30 years.
While one-person plays aren’t for everyone, the Wingfield series are great plays to sit back, relax and laugh a lot.
Thanks to Beattie’s performance, it’s easy for the audience to fall in love with Walt Wingfield and his adventures on the farm. The humour and the struggles Walt experiences in these plays especially hits home in Saskatchewan where agriculture plays such a vital role. It’s something we can relate to, regardless of whether we’ve lived or worked on a farm.
Wingfield’s Folly doesn’t disappoint and is a great way to spend an evening or an afternoon.
RuBarb Productions’ Wingfield Folly runs until Sunday with various showtimes. For more information, contact RuBarb Productions at 306-693-1771 or go online at rubarb.ca.