Guest post by Connor Yuzwenko-Martin
In the upcoming U of A Studio Theatre production of Tribes by Nina Raine, playing May 14 through 23 at the Timms Centre for the Arts, you will meet Billy, a young deaf man who was raised to read lips and speak rather than sign to communicate. But today as Tribes rehearsals begin, let us introduce you to Connor Yuzwenko-Martin (’14 BA). Connor is an Edmonton-based Deaf actor playing Billy.
An eloquent writer for his own blog,My Chrysalis, Connor has graciously agreed to share some excerpts of his blog posts throughout the rehearsal process for Tribes right here on the Curious Arts blog. Here is the first in the series of Connor’s reflections.
Connor Yuzwenko-Martin appears on the far right.
Today is the first rehearsal for the production of Tribes. In advance to stepping into the rehearsal hall, we’ve been working closely with four incredible people, discussing the play, the general vision, and Deaf community involvement.
Sandra Reid is one of the most vital sources of energy and inspiration in the Edmonton and Alberta Deaf community. She is currently the President and ASL Director of the Alberta Cultural Society of the Deaf. This organization champions the creative spirit of the Deaf and brings to light the unique slant that immersion in sign, silence, half-sound, and three-dimensional expression brings to art, from paintings to performances. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her several times, and I know that with her strength this play will become more than merely a play – it will be a cultural event.
Nicole Sander is the President of NICA Consolidated: Network of Interpreters, Consultants, and Advocates. This is the newer company in Alberta that provides interpreting and support services to government, schools, private businesses, and events. It was my fortune to connect with her in my final year of high school when her previously affiliated company swooped in to save me from a year of administrative short-sightedness that would have resulted in no interpreting services for my classes or extracurricular activities. Since then, she has built an innovative group of people dedicated to the Deaf community’s well-being. I’ve worked with her to offer conversational ASL courses as well as received her interpreting support in various personal involvements. NICA Consolidated will be key to making Tribes accessible to the hearing and Deaf members of the audience, and I have every confidence that our interpreters will be as much a part of the performance as myself.
Chris Dodd is an employee at the University of Alberta. The performance is taking place at the Timms Centre on the University of Alberta campus, and Chris works within the department that provides support services to students; thus he is very well-suited to give input on the various facets of putting on this performance. He was a drama student himself, and brought some very interesting concepts to his work through his experiences as a Deaf artist. I haven’t performed with him, and won’t be in Tribes, but I look forward to his insights.
Finally, the locus of it all: Amanda Bergen, the director and producer. I’ve known her since last summer when she took my first ASL class, and we’ve been growing closer as colleagues since then. She is in the MFA directing program at the University of Alberta, and chose Tribes no doubt due to the huge challenges it poses in terms of logistics, familiarity, and audience engagement. From what I’ve seen so far, she has every intention of making this production a landmark of Edmonton’s 2015 theatre scene.
I don’t know exactly what rehearsal will be like. But we’re about to find out.
Support USEED online fundraising campaign for Tribes:
Your support will go towards the additional production costs of ASL interpreters for Saturday, May 16 and Saturday, May 23 performances of the play at U of A Studio Theatre.
Presenter: U of A Studio Theatre
Event Title: Tribes by Nina Raine.
Dates: May 14 – May 23 at 7:30 p.m. No show Sunday.
$5 preview Wednesday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinee Thursday, May 21 at 12:30 p.m.
ASL interpreted performances Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Timms Centre for the Arts, University of Alberta
Single show tickets: $11 student, $22 adult, $20 senior available online now at TIX on the Square and at the Timms Centre box office one hour before each performance.
Directed by Amanda Bergen, Tribes is Robyn Ayles MFA Theatre Design thesis.
See the show page on the University of Alberta website for more information: http://uofa.ualberta.ca/events/tribes