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WINGFIELD LOST AND FOUND (Posted On: Wednesday, September 12, 2012)

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Theatre Collingwood proudly presents WINGFIELD LOST & FOUND for one week only at the Historic Gayety Theatre, September 17 – 22 at 8pm with matinees on Sept. 18 and 20 at 2pm.
 
WINGFIELD LOST & FOUND is the most recent play in a series of comedies written by Dan Needles, performed by Rod Beattie and directed by Douglas Beattie
Rod Beattie is the one and only actor who performs the loveable character Walt Wingfield, a stockbroker turned gentleman farmer who writes a series of letters to the Editor of the fictitious Larkspur Free Press.
 
This final production of the summer theatre season is proudly sponsored by Rogers TV, a long-time media supporter deeply rooted in the theatrical culture of our community.
 
In this seventh installment, Persephone Township faces the worst drought it has seen in 25 years.  Walt struggles to save his crop by using a traditional diviner to help locate a new source of water.  As with all Walt’s misadventures on the farm, obstacles abound. Now married and with a baby daughter, Walt contemplates his ecological footprint and commitment to future generations on the farm.
 
Walt’s hilarious rural crises in this episode include:  high tech cow wrangling, the threat of a water bottling plant, battling a red-tailed hawk, a feud with an angry nest of yellow jacket ground bees, transferring money to an European country, and negotiating with quirky water witches.
 
The central theme in WINGFIELD LOST & FOUND revolves around new beginnings and how something must end in order for something greater to begin.  The connection between humans and nature as well as ecological issues are all explained through wit and laughter. All the plays have a deeper philosophical undertone, that of an agricultural community in transition and the related changing impact on family life.
 
This greatly anticipated seventh play assures us of hope and optimism.  It is a reminder that ‘searching can turn up more than what is lost and teach us the value of more than what is found’.  The Wingfield series is successful because the storytelling is entertaining, the humour is honest and relatable, and the characters are simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary.
 
Rod Beattie is a veteran of fifteen seasons with the Stratford Festival and is one of the most respected and versatile actors in Canadian theatre. His extensive credits include radio, television, film and live performances across Canada. Though he is the only actor onstage, Rod has the amazing ability to transform into multiple characters before your eyes, through facial expressions, changing vocal dynamics, or switching a small article of prop or clothing. He spins the tale performing male, female and animal roles through an eccentric cast of 20 neighbours, relatives and friends.
 
Both Rod and the theatrical character Walt are familiar Collingwood friends. Our community takes special pride because playwright Dan Needles is a local celebrity. Deep-down, each one of us believes we appear as a character in one of his plays.
 
Since 2004, Wingfield has graced Theatre Collingwood’s stage and delighted regional audiences with all six plays in order:  LETTER FROM WINGFIELD FARM, WINGFIELD'S PROGRESS, WINGFIELD'S FOLLY, WINGFIELD UNBOUND, WINGFIELD ON ICE and WINGFIELD'S INFERNO. For more than quarter century, Rod has appeared in over 4000 performances from Victoria to Halifax and points south. Critics and audience members alike consider Walt Wingfield to be a Canadian institution.
 
Says Artistic Director, Steven Thomas “What makes this series universal is that our imaginations allow us to step into the shoes of another person.  The stories resonate because of our own relationships and understanding of our community.  The Wingfield plays chronicle changes in rural society – fabulous stories which need to be told!”
 
Whether you have followed the series since it’s debut or have at one point watched it in a televised version, the live performance remains astonishing.  Even without having seen any of the preceding plays, the set-up is clear and you immediately become friends with Walt.
 
Ask your neighbor if they’ve heard of the Wingfield series.  Here’s what some of the critics have recently said:
 
            Beattie is astonishingly adept at transforming himself from one character to another in a matter of seconds, calling up echoes of a crotchety Walter Brennan, a gawky Jimmy Stewart or a flustered Bob Newhart -- The Toronto Star
 
            ... the jokes are still insightful, and they can still shake the rafters with laughter... addresses serious problems with warmth and understanding... Lost and Found feels rich and full. It's a truly exceptional work.--  See Magazine
 
            Wingield is pleasant company. Filled with fascinating details about the complexities of the supposed simple life. --The Globe & Mail
 
For tickets, visit Theatre Collingwood’s year-round Box Office, newly relocated to 65 Simcoe Street (Mon-Fri between 11am – 3pm).  Tickets may be purchased one hour prior to performance at the Gayety Theatre.  Single tickets may be booked online via the website.  For special packages or to reserve by phone, contact:
(705) 445-2200 / 1 (866) 382-2200 or visit the Theatre Collingwood website
 
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