The Team on the Hill by Dan Needles
Few Canadian writers have had the kind of hand-in-work-glove relationship to rural audiences that Dan Needles has had. Winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, Dan’s Wingfield series has been performed all over Canada, including on the CBC and at the Stratford Festival. Member of the Order of Canada, Dan is well known for his work as an artist with one hand on a hayfork.
The Team on the Hill carries all of Dan’s wit and unparalleled observation of farm life into a rich, funny, and moving family drama about life on the home-farm, complete with its nostalgia for the way things used to be, and struggles with succession.
The Ransier farm is a working cattle farm on the north side of a drumlin. Austin Ransier, the patriarch of the Ransier family, has farmed this land his whole life. An ambitious, hard-working farmer in his youth, Austin now finds himself relegated to mending the fences and sitting like a sentry on the porch. His grandson Larry, fresh from agriculture school, is ready to take on the mantle, and has a wellspring of new ideas from college, and a different approach to the inputs and outputs than those generations that have come before. But Ray, Larry’s father, wants none of it.
As son and grandson wrestle over the future of the land, a developer with motivated investors and blueprints for a golf course arrives to complicate matters. Are there ever enough acres for father and son to work side by side?
(Image by Kelly Stevenson)
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