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. As Tribes rehearsals progress, Connor Yuzwenko-Martin (’14 BA), an Edmonton-based Deaf actor playing Billy, takes us behind-the-scenes.
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 second in the series of Connor’s reflections.
We’ve already started to really pin down the cues, movements, and emotions for the first third of the play. Keep in mind that my prior experience consists of leisurely high school productions with four months of preparation. Here, the sheer velocity is fantastic.
Director Amanda Bergen and sign language interpreter Nicole Sanders in rehearsal for Tribes at U of A Studio Theatre, April 20, 2015. Photo by TJ Jans.
My vocal coaching has also been moving me far out of my comfort zone, but it’s proceeding in the best way possible thanks to my passionate voice coach, Chaslee Schweitzer. This is probably the most challenging part since I have to think on so many levels – remember my lines, speak on an articulate level, integrate the emotion and thoughts of Billy, and preserve the natural Deaf accent. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that I will sound different for the rest of my life.
Best part, though, has been getting to know everyone involved. My co-stars – Mathew Hulshof (’09 BFA), Zoe Glassman (’14 BFA), Bobbi Goddard (’15 BFA), Ashley Wright, and Judy Stelck – are hilarious and frightfully talented. The stage manager and assistant stage manager – Cayley Hanson and Lore Green – are efficient with a smile. My director, Amanda Bergen, is warm and brilliant and her drive is already propelling us full speed.
Tribes cast mates Judy Stelck, Zoe Glassman, and Connor Yuzwenko-Martin in rehearsal at the Timms Centre for the Arts, April 20, 2015. Photo by TJ Jans.
My formal month away from work begins on April 27. There are some long days ahead, but I simply don’t feel concerned. This is actually happening and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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