2013 – Present
Explore our past productions below and learn more about our work
Collectively Created by Jessica Anne Nelson, with the assistance of Kayleigh Sandomirsky & Dan Willows
Winner of the Best Site Specific Show Award at the Vancouver Fringe Festival (2013)
"I thought the Earth remembered me . . .” — Mary Oliver, Sleeping in the Forest
Join Blade in this one-on-one, intimate, interactive, and outdoor experiential theatre piece. You will help Blade to rediscover and reconnect with the nature that’s all around us, within us, and created from our own roots. Engaging all your senses with a bit of fun.
Blade: Kayleigh Sandomirsky
Gardener: Dan Willows & Gerald
Collaborators: Jessica Anne Nelson, Megan Gilron, Kayleigh Sandomirsky, Dan Willows & Mike Irvine
Lighting Design: David Cowling
Costume Design: Elliot Squire
Documentation: Matt Reznek
Publicity: Stefania Indelicato
VANCOUVER FRINGE FEST: A visit with Mother Nature
"Growing up on 40 acres in Langley, Jessica [Anne] Nelson often played alone in the forest and around the creek that ran through the property. Exploring nature was an integral part of her childhood. So when she came to the big city of Vancouver and worked with the Onsite program for the Vancouver Fringe Festival, the theme of Mother Earth was in the back of her mind for her new production. She walked around Granville Island and picked a spot along the boardwalk close to the False Creek community centre to stage her show, titled Meanwhile. The location, she said, is peaceful and surrounded by trees — some of which are drooping so low that they are propped up by steel beams. “It was that site that kind of inspired this story,” she said... " -- Tri City News. Read the rest of the article here.
Meanwhile ... on Granville Island
"Three actors, two characters and an audience of one. It was an idea that had been buzzing through Jessica [Anne] Nelson’s mind since she was a student at UBC and learned that such an avant-garde approach to live theatre was even possible. And now the countdown is on, as the 25-year-old D.W. Poppy grad prepares to turn the concept into reality with her one act play, titled Meanwhile, at the upcoming Vancouver Fringe Festival, Sept. 6 to 15... " -- Langley Advance Times. Read the rest of the article here.
Meanwhile cultivates connection to nature at Fringe fest
"Meanwhile will be playing for 10 straight nights — a feat that will test the endurance of the cast. Kayleigh Sandomirsky, one of the performers, is doing seven shows a night with a 10-minute break between shows. This means she will be performing from 7:30 to 11 p.m. each night for 10 nights in a row. Even though she also works a full-time job, Sandomirsky thinks people should come to the show so they’ll learn how to relax. “People need to take a time out. I don’t think enough about taking one and when I do, I’m on my computer. It’s really nice to stop and do nothing, because we never do it and it feels so good,” said Sandomirsky.
Nelson said that seeing the site at Alder Bay reminded her of her childhood and the importance of taking time to admire nature. Like other shows in the Fringe’s Onsite program, the performance was inspired by the setting itself." -- The Ubyssey. Read the rest of the article here.
"Meanwhile" at the Fringe with Kuwaiti Moonshine
“Meanwhile… is wonderful little outdoor show (about 15-20 minutes long) that is for one audience member at a time and has two actors. It’s very intimate and meditative, and is about reconnecting with the earth (Mother Earth being one of the characters). It’s a very unique and poetic theatrical experience that gives you a good moment in all the fringe chaos to ‘just breath’. I recommend seeing after it gets dark!"" -- GVPTA News, Alyssa Kostello
by Martha Herrera-Lasso
WORLD PREMIER PRODUCTION (2014)
Four people, a man and woman in their 20s and a man and woman in their 30s, each at different stages in their lives, get themselves caught up in complicated and sometimes surprisingly emotional and confusing conversations, all taking place after sex. Struggling to find their paths within and without societal relationship norms and expectations, this is an exploration of love and lust, intimacy and miscommunication, in a modern day society that is overwhelmed by choice.
Sandra: Stefania Indelicato
James: Al Miro
Jackie: Jane Hancock
Daniel: Matthew McLellan
Set Designer: Carolyn Rapanos
Costume Designer: Basha Ladovsky
Sound Designer: Emily Griffiths
Lighting Designer: Mike Irvine
Stage Manager: Tanya Schwaerzle
“AFTER” – Hilarious, Awkward, and Close to Home
“Herrera-Lasso’s intelligent, funny, and honest script requires performers who identify with their characters, even as they hurt others, hold tight to things they don’t want, hide from their partners and hide from themselves. Luckily for us, under the direction of Excavation Theatre’s Jessica Anne Nelson, the ensemble of four actors (dream of passion’s Stefania Indelicato, Al Miro, Jane Hancock, and Matthew McLellan) deliver tight performances that never miss a beat. Both perfectly natural and perfectly rehearsed, no gesture, line, or inflection is wasted as the performers feed off one another and carry the audience through an incredibly quick (but incredibly satisfying) 80 minutes." -- NiftyNotCool, Lauren Kresowaty
Theatre review: AFTER is as much fun as foreplay
"While at first glance, AFTER appears to be about sex and drama, the fact that the players are sexy and attractive is secondary to their witty voyage of self-discovery and honesty. The simple set, just a bed, kept the focus on the characters and their attempt to be honest with their partners and most importantly, themselves. The female characters are the best developed and emotionally exposed, especially Indelicato’s solo monologues, baring her feelings to James over the phone. Al Miro’s James could easily have been just the hunky eye-candy, with the most sexual of the roles, but his comedic timing elevates the role from sex object to misunderstood misogynist. Simple Daniel is probably the least developed character and changes the least but McLellan humanizes what could be a forgotten character when paired against Hancock’s Jackie who fills the stage with neurosis and angst. Throw them all together and AFTER play becomes as much fun as foreplay, something everyone will enjoy and relate to. " -- Vancouver Presents, Jay Minter
After: An intimate exploration
"The audience were trapped together in the small space of the Havana Theatre with just a bed before us, being presented throughout with crumpled bed sheets and scantily clad flesh glistening with sweat which at times almost verged on voyeurism. The interactions between the characters however, the revelations and the arguments, the search for love and connection oft absent even in this most intimate of times, leaves the characters much more naked than their lack of clothes ever does. And therein lays the mastery of this play. Between the performances, playwright Martha Herrera-Lasso’s words and director Jessica Anne Nelson’s vision, the audience are presented with a posse of agonizingly recognizable characters. In fact, I implore you to watch this show and I implore you whilst watching not to empathize with a moment or a character at some point in this play, either with regards to yourself or to somebody you know. Then, when all is said and done, when barriers are broken, moments shared, truths spoken, tears shed and laughs roared, I implore you to talk about it…after." -- GVPTA News, Joe Hinks
Candid post-coital conversation takes the spotlight in AFTER
"'Everyone can identify with the characters onstage, as the topic of romantic relationships is universal,' said Jessica Anne Nelson, the production’s director. As Nelson points out, it’s all too easy to be swept away in the desire for a relationship. '[We forget to ask ourselves,] am I happy? Am I okay with being treated this way? Am I letting myself be used?'
Observed through a female perspective and in her 20s herself, Nelson, the founder of Excavation Theatre and a UBC theatre alumna, sees the internal conflicts of the female characters as the result of a bigger cultural debate about what is acceptable for a woman’s sexuality. Nelson says females in the media are either hailed as perfect virgins or smeared as sluts, and these outdated dichotomies often lead to self-loathing or doubt concerning a woman’s role in the bedroom.
Empowered by a woman in creative control, all members of AFTER’s production team are female, with the exception of the lighting designer. They are joined by a cast that features Stefania Indelicato, Al Miro, Jane Hancock and Matthew McLellan. 'More than simply expecting to laugh, the audience should be prepared for the script’s layers of intensity,' said Nelson. 'I hope this production will generate more conversation about how we treat each other.' " -- The Ubyssey, Mariam Barry
After Explores the Moments ‘After’ Sexual Intercourse Through Four Different Expectations
"The play is well executed with all actors skillfully handling their character’s personality traits. Al Miro as James adds some well-timed humour. Matthew McLellan as Daniel is subtle and realistic, portraying anger, compassion, and indifference. Jane Hannock as Jackie is a believable, manipulative, double talker; Stefania Indelicato as Sandra successfully expresses the frustration of loving the wrong person... [C]onversations were clear and concise, something often lacking in today’s theatre. The actors are in various stages of undress throughout the play and the exposure of skin is realistic without being sensational and distracting from Herrera-Laso’s story. The actors are also responsible for changing props between scenes in the semi darkness and do so with a kinetic energy that spills over to the scenes. After artfully demonstrates the dichotomy between physical and emotional relationships of men and women " -- Vancouverscape, MJ Ankeman
by Andrea Stolowitz
Yoshié Bancroft's role as Evie and Pixie was the winner of the Jessie Richardson Award for Best Supporting Actress, Small Theatre (2016)
Ithaka was a theatrical Canadian Premiere about a Marine Captain, Elaine Edwards, who has just returned from her latest tour in Afghanistan but this time things are different - home doesn’t feel right and nothing makes sense. After a blow up fight with her husband propels her to skip town, she undertakes an Odyssean journey through the American landscape battling her monsters, trying to find her way home.
Elaine “Lanie” Edwards: Stefania Indelicato
Bill Edwards: Adam Lolacher
Evie/Pixie: Yoshié Bancroft
EM Richardson: Desiree Zurowski
Odysseus/Jacob: Brent Hirose
Set & Costume Designer: Rafaella Rabinovich
Sound Designer: David Cowling
Lighting Designer: Sara Smith
Stage Manager: Tanya Schwaerzle
Ithaka explores PTSD with truth... and cats
“So believable is Lanie, an ex-marine and Ithaka’s main character, it’s hard to believe Portland playwright Andrea Stolowitz didn’t serve in the armed services in Afghanistan. This is a result of the taut, crisp writing, thorough research and actor Stefania Indelicato’s fully committed performance. Hands clenching, eyes wild, Indelicato doesn’t simply walk the stage, she shreds it in her work boots. She’s not only emotionally into it but she’s physically perfect: tall, strong, and rangy with dark, curly hair yanked back into a ponytail. Like a festering sliver, Indelicato gets so deep under Lanie’s skin it will be a wonder if she doesn’t suffer post-traumatic stress disorder when the show closes. We all know about PTSD or we think we do. And while we might think it’s a relatively new disorder, just ask Odysseus whose return to Ithaka was fraught with obstacles. And if we think we’ve heard it all before, Odysseus (Brent Hirose) sets us straight: we don’t know what war is like unless we were there. Directed by Jessica Anne Nelson (artistic director of Excavation Theatre) and co-produced by dream of passion productions, Ithaka has the ring of truth. That core question is still rattling around in my head: how do you reconcile a decision you made that had a fatal outcome? Most of us pray we’re never put in that position." -- on the scene, Jo Ledingham
Excavation Theatre and dream of passion productions presents “Ithaka”
"Both the production and the performers show their strengths in the script’s dialogues, in which relationships are created, remembered, and blown up (a favourite scene of mine is a particularly heated exchange between Lanie and her civilian husband Bill, played by Adam Lolacher). One senses that the actors are truly listening to each other, even if their characters (sometimes) are not. As the audience began to applaud the conclusion of the play, the lights came up to reveal several people wiping their eyes, and I overheard a woman in the bathroom tell another woman in line that she thought the show was “amazing”. At the end of the day, it is the stories we tell and hear that move us, and that remain with us long after we’ve left the theatre. The story of Ithaka is important, compelling, and passionately told." -- NiftyNotCool, Lauren Kresowaty
TALKING MILITARY WOMEN, PTSD, AND MAKING A PLAY WITH THE LADIES OF ITHAKA
"The military is something we don’t talk extensively about in Canada, and even more so, the topic of women in the military. In exciting preparation for the upcoming play Ithaka about precisely those things, director Jessica Anne Nelson and artistic director and cast member Stefania Indelicato chatted with me about women in the army, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and producing a play about an unfamiliar subject..." -- Her Campus, Li Charmaine Anne
To read more of the interview, click HERE
Take a trip to “Ithaka” on Stage
"Opening in one week at the Havana Theatre, Ithaka, is a new play by Andrea Stolowitz, directed by Jessica Anne Nelson. Co-produced by dream of passion productions and Excavation Theatre, the Canadian Premiere performance runs, May 3-7 and 10-14, 2016 at the intimate Commercial Drive stage. Ithaka is about a Marine Captain, Elaine Edwards, who has just returned from her latest tour in Afghanistan but this time things are different – home doesn’t feel right and nothing makes sense. After a blow up fight with her husband propels her to skip town, she undertakes an Odyssean journey through the American landscape battling her monsters, trying to find her way home..." -- On the List, Jay Minter. To read more of the preview, click HERE