Photo courtesy of
Haven Society

Denisa Kraus
The Navigator

“Ever woken up beside a stranger? What if it was planned that way?”

The catch phrase of the celebrated one-woman act, Dissolve, prepares us for the play confronting the topic of drink spiking and drug-facilitated sexual assault. Produced by Shameless Hussy Production and promoted by Nanaimo’s Haven Society, the touring play comes to the Malaspina Theatre on Thursday, February 14.

Based on author Meghan Gardiner’s personal experience, Dissolve follows a girl—the victim of a presumed assault—through meeting a series of characters on her night out. “Each one of them has an opportunity to step in and prevent that thing from happening, but they don’t,” Gardiner says in the play’s trailer. “That’s not a conscious choice they make, but because the awareness of drink-spiking has not been huge, they just don’t know any better.”

The play combines the dramatic and serious topic with a humorous storyline constructed upon 16 different characters, all played by award-winning actress Emmelia Gordon.

“It’s fun to have that kind of balance [of serious and funny personalities], because it shakes it up for the audience as well,” says Gordon.

Written in 2003, the updated version now tours North America, namely Colorado, Washington, and BC. Although drink-spiking has not necessarily just become an issue recently, Tracy Myers, Coordinator of Programs for Children and Youth at Haven Society, believes in the importance of the play coming to Nanaimo.

“We know rape and sexual assaults are heavily underreported, especially with date-rape drug involved,” she says. “Drugs can erase or alter your memory and make women question what happened.”

Director Renee Iaci adds that the goal of Dissolve is “to spark conversation on the issue and get people talking outside of the theatre.”

“Unfortunately, this show still is relevant and seems to be collecting speed. In terms of reaction, we generally get very positive responses and sometimes very lively talk-backs,” she says.

But both Gardiner and Myers agree that Dissolve is first and foremost a cultural event. “It’s not a safety presentation or a lecture—it’s an entertaining piece of theatre that students can’t help but enjoy,” says Gardiner.

Dissolve starts at 7:00pm.  Admission is $10 for seniors or students, and $15 for adults.  Tickets are available for purchase at Haven Society, Vancouver Island University Students’ Union office, and the Thirsty Camel Café.

If cost is a barrier to attending, please contact Haven Society directly by calling 250-756-2452.