For the third year, a group of York University students, alumni and faculty from the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) have crossed international waters to perform at the highly prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
YUFFA Fringe, a theatre company based in AMPD, is supported by York International and was created to bring bright talent from Toronto to Edinburgh each August. It is led by York theatre Professor Ian Garrett, who is the company’s producer and veteran of Edinburgh Fringe.
This year, the group presents Head à Tête, a play by David S. Craig and Robert Morgan that explores critical themes in a child’s life. It is an English-French immersion play, suitable for all ages, and explores themes of bullying, communication and sharing.
The play opened on Aug. 6 and is scheduled to run daily at 5:20pm until Sunday, Aug.14 at Venue 13, just off the Royal Mile on Lochend Close.
Head à Tête takes place in a cold and barren ‘land,’ where survival is key. The play opens on two strangers that speak different languages: Please, only English, and Moitie, only French. They quickly discover that danger is nearby, and (to their annoyance) they cannot understand the other. The two find a wonderful tree which gives them warmth, food, and shelter, but must learn and share the tree’s wealth.
With bilingualism, and Canadian history as a core component, Head à Tête presents the struggles, language, and cultural barriers our clashing duo must overcome. The presentation also features a free post-show educational workshop.
In addition to Head à Tête, Yuffa will produce the devised show The Concept, an existentialist’s nightmare. The show runs at Venue 13 Aug. 19 to 27, at 5:20pm.
Borrowing from known works of Edgar Allen Poe, and Charles Dickens, The Concept will makes viewers question the relevance of an all-mighty God-figure of today. As Jessie is given the chance to finally face ‘God’, he’s taken on a journey he never expected –he’s guided by the Concept, a mysterious voice that writes humanity through time. As the Concept exposes Jessie to the tasks of being the Author, unfortunate circumstances occur, and Jessie realizes what happens when you’ve been hired as God’s replacement.
This year’s YUFFA team includes:
Adriana DeAngelis (director/costume designer) is a recent graduate of York University with a BA in Theatre Studies. She has written for a student festival at York University, and participated alongside York for Canadian Stage’s Shakespeare in High Park. For the Edinburgh Fringe she is working as assistant costume and lighting designer on YUFFA’s The Concept, and premiering as costume designer and director of Head à Tête.
Stefanie Zamperin (asst. director/head of carpentry) is finishing her undergrad at York University, studying theatre. She is taking on the roles of assistant director and head of carpentry in Head à Tête.
Mary-Margaret Annab (production manager) is entering her third year at York University in the theatre production program. She is thrilled to have the chance to be production manager for Head à Tête, and production manager and actor for The Concept.
Ellen K. Wendell (set designer) is a fourth-year student in the theatre production and design program at York University. She is the set designer for Head à Tête, and for the The Concept she is lighting designer and sound designer.
Danielle Carey (sound designer/carpentry) is the lighting and costume designer for both of this year’s YUFFA Fringe shows, and will be making her debut as a stage manager with Head à Tête. She is currently studying Production & Design for the Theatre at York University. This past year, she has had the opportunity to design for York’s Dance Innovations showcase, as well as Silence S’il Vous Plaît, a piece in their student run theatre festival, playGround. She will be returning in the fall as a lighting designer during Theatre @ York’s 2016/2017 Season.
Christian Michael Teatro O’Leary (sound designer) is a recent graduate of the York Devised Theatre program, and has been affiliated with many groups such as The Basement Kids Improv Comedy Group, Content Not Approved, Fandom Musicals and Shattered Glass Collective.
Drew Murdoch (actor) This is Murdoch’s second time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He appeared last year at the festival in YUFFA Fringe’s Production of Nudity, Free Beer, Good For Kids. He was a theatre studies student at York University, and during his time at York got to be part of multiple shows including Rope (Epigraph Collective), Carbon Copies (Little Black Afro), Slammed (York Poets).
Andrew Pawarroo (actor) is a fourth-year devised theatre student at York University. His passion for theatre began with his lovely drama teachers and continued in his community theatre experiences where he performed in Wait Until Dark, Skin Flick, and a number of one act plays.
Milka Beker (workshop coordinator) is currently finishing her undergraduate studies in Theatre and Children’s Studies at York University. She is premiering as the educational workshop coordinator for Head à Téte. She will be returning to York for her final year in the fall.
Raechel Kula (projections designer/actor) The Concept is Kula’s third production to play Venue 13 at Ed Fringe, and represents her first appearance on stage along with her projection designs. Her previous work YUFFA Fringe includes production designer for Victims of Influence (2014) and last year’s Nudity, Free Beer, Good for Kids.
Ashley Elliott (stage manager/actor The Concept) is a versatile theatre artist, having worked in directing, stage management, performance, design and theatre administration. Previous stage management credits include: The Stage Manager’s Guide to Dating Assholes (Toronto Fringe ’16), Internal Iniquity (playGround ’16), and the Resident Stage Manager at Vanier Improv Co. (2015-2016).