As a small, independent theatre company that strives to create and share unheard voices and stories that are controversial, compelling, and provocative, Excavation Theatre has been thrilled to bring our latest production to the Vancouver community.
With Jessica Anne Nelson, Bronwyn Henderson, and Demi Pedersen at its' helm, this production is not only close to our hearts due to its themes, but also because it has been our opportunity to create our own opportunities for storytelling in Vancouver. So, we decided to shake off the pandemic cobwebs and bring a show to the Vancouver community once again!
Wishing to bring a story to the community that is centred around people's reproductive and sexual rights, our team selected the gripping work of renowned Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch and her play
What a Young Wife Ought to Know
WHY THIS PLAY MATTERS
This piece explores education surrounding sexual health and consent, while in addition advocates for a woman’s right to choose and the importance of family planning, particularly for the economically disenfranchised. As a female-led creative team directly affected by legislation and social attitudes surrounding reproductive health, this story hits close to home and feels vital in our current political and social landscape.
Our decision to tackle this particular work came from a desire to bring themes of sexual health and consent to our local theatre community. The world being put on pause during the pandemic did not end issues that came to the surface during the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, and in many cases the pandemic exacerbated experiences of domestic violence and misconduct. And most recently devastating news has also come out of the United States about the abolition of Roe v. Wade, while here in Canada the Supreme Court ruled that when someone is required by their partner to wear a condom during sex but they do not, they could be guilty of sexual assault, sparking conversations nationwide about consensual relationships. It has become apparent that the issues of consent, sexual health, and the reproductive rights of womxn are more relevant than ever, and that it is imperative for us to fulfill our commitment to create art that matters.
This production will be rooted in safety and consent for our cast, designers, crew, and audiences. The director, Jessica Anne Nelson, is an experienced and trained theatre director and intimacy director who will bring vital knowledge to the overall project in creating a rehearsal environment and dynamic that is inclusive and supportive for all involved. We will also engage another intimacy director for our rehearsals in order to avoid complications and power dynamics that could arise with Jessica acting as both director and intimacy director.
Of the play, Nelson said, “Hannah has transported us back in time with What a Young Wife Ought to Know and given not only the audience a chance to peek into the lives and hardships of working class women 100 years ago, but also the main character of sweet idealistic Sophie the chance to pick the brains of the modern woman. Speaking directly to the audience throughout the play, Sophie is struggling to know what to do with the circumstances she’s found herself in: pregnant again for the fifth time, unable to properly feed herself, her husband, and their children. No one will help her prevent pregnancies and yet doctors are telling her that she shouldn’t have any more children due to her health, so what option is she left with? The play is a tornado that sweeps the characters and audience along for the story, never once slowing down or shying away from the hard and tragic truths of what can happen when someone must take their sexual/reproductive health into their own hands. Peppered with moments of honesty, heart and humour, contrasted against the bleakness of what Sophie must do for her own sanity, health, and wellbeing of her family, I’m excited to bring a story about the need for a womxn’s right to choose, the right for access to proper reproductive and sexual health, to the stage with such a talented and passionate group of artists.”
Charlotte Wright, who will be playing Sophie’s sister Alma in this production, said, "It's 2023, and yet women's body autonomy is thrown into question, yet again. We've moved three years forward and yet a hundred years back. We are bringing to life a story and a topic that is both 100 years old and happening all over again, right in front of us."
For this production, we have been working off of a modest budget, which breaks down as follows:
Set Materials & Props: $2,000.00
Costume Materials: $1,200.00
Labour Costs for Technicians and Front of House Manager at Performance Works: $7,381.50
Venue Rental Fee: $2,793.00
Rehearsal Venues Rental Fees: $150.00
Artist Fees: $2,500.00 – $20,000.00 (This is for 12 artists work in the production including our Producers, Director, Stage Managers, Actors, Designers, Technical Director, Accent Coach, Fight Director, and Intimacy Director.)
Script Rights: $1,260.00
Licenses & Insurances: $2,000.00
Marketing Materials & Ads: $300.00
Total expenses: $19,584.50 – $37,084.50
The reason for the range, is that if we do not bring in enough funding, the artists have agreed to an honourarium for payment. However, with enough donations we could pay the artists more than simply an honourarium for all their work.
With all your generous donations, you will bring this show to the stage by helping to cover our hard costs associated with putting on the play, and support local independent theatre and artists!
Consider donating today!