Zak and Marcus Youssef

Marcus Youssef has a “difficult” relationship with his mother, Roleene. When the playwright discovers a storage locker full of her journals, he begins to delve into her history—and his own. Filled with humour, tension, and affection, How Has My Love Affected You? questions the nature of familial obligation: what do we owe to each other, and what do we owe to ourselves?
Marcus Youssef is the artistic director of Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre. He’s also an award-winning actor and writer as well as a teacher and producer.

In this autobiographical work, Marcus Youssef recounts his fraught but ultimately cathartic relationship with his mother. The story of her declining mental health is told through Youssef’s recollections side by side with excerpts from the journals she kept obsessively. How Has My Love Affected You? features original music performed by Marcus’s son Zak Youssef and composed by Veda Hille (Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata, Peter Panties).
“It’s me attempting to tell—as truthfully as I can—a story that’s based on a bunch of stuff that really happened, to me, and my loved ones,” said Youssef. “It’s just my point of view, and in many ways the piece is about how you can discover that your point of view is only your point of view.”

Zak and Marcus Youssef
[Zak and Marcus Youssef with photo of Roleene Youssef]
“Lots of us find our own family dynamics compelling,” said Rachel Ditor, the play’s director. “Marcus’s need to untangle the many threads of his story with Roleene always made sense to me, but I didn’t expect to find myself equally obsessed with their story. Taken together, Roleene’s lifelong need to articulate and live her inner life, Marcus’s deeply conflicted feelings for her, and Zak’s easy presence present a kind of intimate mystery that just draws you in.”
How Has My Love Affected You? is one of the Arts Club Theatre’s Silver Commissions—a program launched by the company in 2006 with the generous support of Stan and Kathy Hamilton that commissions new plays for the company’s stages. 
How Has My Love Affected You? is written by Marcus Youssef, and stars Marcus and Zak Youssef.

How Has My Love Affected You?
Dates: February 28 to March 6; Monday & Tuesday, 7:30 pm; Wednesday to Saturday, 8 pm; Wednesday & Saturday matinee, 2 pm
Venue: Revue Stage, 1601 Johnston Street, Granville Island
Tickets: $25 and $35, including taxes and fees; available either online or by phoning 604.687.1644

Photos by Simon Hayter.

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