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poison the well, Andrew Connor, Elison Zasko

Poison the Well

A volatile hostage crisis in Russia reunifies two childhood friends separated by war. As James and Maya do battle with a twisted knot of past and present entanglements, thousands of lives hang in the balance.

Poison the Well is an international collaboration between touring veterans Elison Zasko (The Sputniks), of Russia, and Andrew Connor (Boom, Cyclosa Confusa, The Cody Rivers Show) of the United States. It tells a high-stakes tale about the global and personal tragedies of war, and the dangers of neglect.

Connor and Zasko have drawn from their distinct cultural and personal backgrounds to craft a play that that grapples with the confounding complexities of conflict.

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poison the well, Andrew Connor, Elison Zasko

"This fast-paced thriller set in Russia had me hooked from start to finish."
Montreal Gazette

"If you see any show this year, you need to see Poison The Well. If you don’t, you’ll be sorry you didn’t. Absolutely riveting. Stop reading this and go see this show already. No, really, stop reading this and get to the theatre before it is gone."
Plank Magazine

"...seriously, politically intense."
Montreal Hour

"The performances from author Andrew Connor and especially Elison Zasko are intelligent and intense....The script’s examination of cynicism and corruption shines with ambition."
Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

"A real piece of solid theatre in a barrage of light Fringe fluff."
Dee Arr, Montreal Theatre Critic

"The audience was absolutely riveted. In the occasional pause for thought, a pin could be heard were it dropped."
Mooney on Theatre (Toronto)

“Poison the Well is about war. It is also about the decisions people make in life that propel them into adulthood. It is about how far people—and nations—will go to further the causes they believe in. It is about the past, the present and even the future. But get this straight: It is not a love story.”
The Cascadia Weekly

"This has to be one of the very best performances at this year’s Fringe. A strong pair of professional actors and a riveting script combine to build the tension minute by minute as the ante is upped one more notch by each player, leading to an unexpected conclusion.
     This is a polished gem of a show, a more serious type of theatre than much of the Fringe fare. Elison Zasko (The Sputniks) and Andrew Connor (Boom, Cyclosa Confusa, the Cody Rivers Show) capture and maintain the complex levels of anxiety, pressure, relationships, responsibilities, guilt and living with war and terror in a pressure cooker setting of a hostage-taking negotiation. Politics, corporate economics, ethics and morality are hurled about the table along with the various lives that are held in the balance of these two characters’ roles and the allegiances to whom they must eventually answer. Zasko pours so much life and power into her character Maya, you’ll remember her as the real thing. This is a dramatic show but it never verges into the melodramatic. The knife-edge is occasionally blunted with some wry humour, giving the audience an opportunity to laugh and breathe before plunging back into the dismal depths of Russian oil and war profiteering interests and the collateral damage inflicted on innocents who turn to desperate measures for their relief.
     This is your chance to see high quality theatre at a bargain basement price. My guess is that this will move on to a much larger stage in the near future."
Plank Magazine

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Elison Zasko (Actor)

Born and raised in Moscow, Elison received her theatrical training at the Moscow Gaidar Theatre (1990-2000). At the age of 17, Elison moved to Vancouver, BC to pursue performance and dance. In Canada she studied with masters of Clown and Commedia, including Sue Morrison, Adam Lazarus, Adam Paolozza, Ravi Jain, and John Beale.

Her first full-length self-written play, “The Sputniks”, was a hit on the Fringe circuit and at a handful of juried festivals across Canada. Elison has produced numerous dance shows at the Association de Contact Improvisation in Montreal, and performed in a variety of cabarets as well as in a number of independent films in Toronto.

In the recent years she has combined her assorted experiences and eclectic background to create unique programming for students of dance and drama in Toronto, where she now lives.


Andrew Connor (Writer, Director, Actor)

Andrew Connor received his theater and dance education at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he acted and danced in, and choreographed and directed numerous productions, while also performing in the Babbling Bishops improv comedy troupe.

Andrew is the Artistic Director of Sketchfest Seattle, and has toured around the world with his solo shows, Boom, and Cyclosa Confusa.


••• Schedule ••• Schedule ••• Schedule ••• Schedule •••

Montreal, Quebec
FRI, June 11 - 22:00
SAT, June 12 - 15:30
MON, June 14 - 18:15
WED, June 16 - 20:15
FRI, June 18 - 17:15
SAT, June 19 - 19:00

Poison the Well appears at the Montreal Fringe Festival

Venue 03 – 03 - Espace 4001 Berri Space
4001 Berri

For tickets and more information:


Toronto, Ontario
FRI, July 2 – 1:15pm
SAT, July 3 – 7:30pm
MON, July 5 – 5:00pm
TUE, July 6 – 1:15pm
WED, July 7 – 9:15pm
FRI, July 9 – 5:45pm
SAT, July 10 – 11:30pm

Poison the Well appears at the Toronto Fringe

The Annex Theatre
736 Bathurst (SW corner of Bathurst and Lennox)

For tickets and more information:
(416) 966-1062


Victoria, British Columbia
MON, Aug. 30 - 6:00
TUE, Aug 31 - 9:45
WED, Sept 1 - 9:45
THU, Sept 2 - 11:30
FRI, Sept 3 - 6:00
SAT, Sept 4 - 8:00

Poison the Well appears at the Victoria Fringe Festival

Venue 1
- Downtown Community Activity Centre
755 Pandora Ave



Vancouver, British Columbia
THU, Sept. 9 – 5:00pm
SUN, Sept. 12 – 6:20pm
MON, Sept. 13 – 5:00pm
WED, Sept. 15 – 7:45pm
SAT, Sept. 18 – 9:45pm
SUN, Sept. 19 – 5:00pm

Venue: Playwrights Theatre Centre, 1398 Cartwright St., Granville Island

Poison the Well appears at the Vancouver Fringe Festival


poison the well, Andrew Connor, Elison Zasko


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