Fringe Theatre is thrilled to support RISER Edmonton as a Senior Partner and venue host, providing a platform for these influential, local creators to explore and share their work.
Through RISER Edmonton, four Edmonton-based performing artists and companies will receive support from Common Ground Arts Society and Senior Partners in the form of rehearsal and performance space, technical and creative support, and a year of mentorship and project development.
This year, Connor Yuzwenko-Martin of The Invisible Practice is participating in RISER Edmonton 2023 as Producer and Playwright of After Faust.
Many know the classic tragedy of Doctor Faustus, who made a deal with a demon and ultimately gave up his soul. But few have asked the question: “What happened to the demon Mephistopheles after?”
Performed in ASL by a Deaf cast, After Faust surfaces the oft-painful questions and choices that lay along the path of forgiveness and self-transformation.
Q&A With Connor Yuzwenko-Martin
We sat down with Connor Yuzwenko-Martin, and he shared the personal connection that After Faust has made on his life and how the story encompasses feelings in both a performative and therapeutic way.
Why are you telling this story now?
Connor (C): As we enter a new era of inexplicable loss, I believe that we need solace and healing. I’ve always seen theatre as therapy because that is how I experienced it growing up. It was a space to fully express myself as a Deaf person in a hearing-dominated world, and explore my inner world. In After Faust, we see several characters – some historical, some modern, some larger than life – process their grief in very different ways. I feel that this story is so necessary at this time.
How did this story come to be?
C: After Faust dovetails from two pivotal moments in my life. The first is when I read the original Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, and just barely picked up on the medieval queer themes when I was fifteen years old in high school. It took me another fifteen years to tease out those threads into a full-bodied re-interpretation of the legendary demon Mephistopheles. The second is when my cousin and one of the closest people in my life chose suicide in September 2020. This script is very much my process of grief on paper. I tried to answer the many questions that flew and slashed through my mind in the months after: “How can I bring him back? What will I do differently? What would I say if I had one more minute with him?” I am so grateful to the team and cast who have brought this vision to full life.
What do you hope your audience takes away?
C: The most terribly unifying thing the pandemic has done to humanity is to educate a vast number of us on how it feels to lose someone without being able to talk to them one last time. I hope that this story helps people find that little moment of “I’ll be okay. Maybe not now, but later, I will be okay.” And that way we can all find that collective strength to keep going.
If you could go back to your younger self, what advice would you give?
C: Reprioritize what really matters to you, and the people that are most important to you. Time is the most precious resource. Use it well and use it with love.
After Faust (Jan 31 – Feb 5)
This production runs January 31 to February 5, 2023 in the Backstage Theatre.
American Sign Language (ASL) Shows: All dates are performed in ASL with projected English captions. ASL Interpreters will be available in the lobby pre- and post-show at every performance. Performances on January 31, February 2 and February 4 will feature live voice-over in spoken English.
Offer What You Will tickets are available for every performance. Learn more about Offer What You Will by clicking the links below.
Get your tickets to After Faust!
After Faust is produced and written by Connor Yuzwenko-Martin as part of RISER Edmonton 2023 with Common Ground Arts Society.