After the House Lights

The Dysmorphia Diet at Edmonton Fringe Festival


The Dysmorphia Diet
Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way) August 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24

An interview with Clay Nikiforuk.

The Dysmorphia Diet at Edmonton Fringe. Photo credit: Christopher Ayling

Describe your show in five words.

Claire gets an eating disorder.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

The longer description is that we meet Claire, a quirky 23 year old artist, her boyfriend, her boss, and a dozen other characters as Claire finds herself surrounded by pressure to be thin –  in order to be hirable, to be perceived as smart and edgy, and, most importantly: to be healthy. What follows is a kind of comedy- of -errors-meets-nightmarescape of her earnest efforts to get healthy while keeping her sanity. As we know from the short description, unfortunately the sanity part doesn’t last long, and neither does the health. But as dire as her situation gets, we get to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

In your research about our obsession with “thinness”, what was the fact you discovered that surprised you the most?

One of the most interesting facts I found about thinness was that it’s not the best thing for our health, but we’ve culturally got a causation/correlation problem where thinness is seen as a necessary condition for being truly healthy. Thinness has become not just a standard of beauty but a personal betterment mission, and I think that’s one reason why men and boys are feeling the pressure more than ever, too. Thinness has it’s own set of risks, just like obesity, and is, in itself, no guarantee of health and longevity. But one look at any health-related resource and you wouldn’t guess it.

The Dysmorphia Diet tackles some pretty tough themes, but in a comedic way. What do you want audiences to walk away from the show with?

Most importantly to me is that audiences walk away feeling not so alone. Managing thoughts about our bodies and what they “should” be is typically a private affair, so to watch me on stage thinking out loud all the way through childhood logic to full-blown adult eating disorder can provide some solidarity for people who know exactly what I’m talking about, and explains a lot to people who don’t.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

I was accepted late in the game so you won’t find The Dysmorphia Diet info printed in the Fringe Festival paper program! But all you have to do is find it on the website or download the nifty app and search “The Dysmorphia Diet.”

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. Get your tickets at