Bad Parent a new play from award-winning playwright Ins Choi is now on stage at The Cultch Historic Theatre until October 23rd. Produced by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT), with Prairie Theatre Exchange, and Soulpepper Theatre Company, the play takes a lighthearted look at marriage, parenthood and everything that goes along with them.
Stars Raugi Yu and Josette Jorge, playing all four of the plays characters, feel perfect fits for the main roles of Charles and Norah, parents of an ’18 monther’. Both actors show their dexterity in flipping on-the-fly between the secondary roles of Filipono Nanny Nora (Jorge) and bookish HR Manager Dale (Yu).
In a venue as intimate as the Historic Theatre, the plays used and interaction with the audience works perfectly, as the couple begin to reflect on their relationship directly to the audience. The pair share their lives as a couple, parents and individuals, with heart and emotion along with a healthy dose of comedy mixed in to keep it lively and light.
While we know it’s a scripted play, Yu and Jorge under Director Meg Roe, Associate Director Hazel Venzon, and Assistant Director Anjela Magpantay, are able to give it a spontaneous cinema vérité – style of theatre, as though we’re watching their lives unfold and unravel before us.
Since the playwright has based Bad Parent on real experiences there’s added authenticity to the script, “There was a turbulent time, early in our marriage, when my wife and I argued a lot. I began writing long unfiltered rants in an attempt to clarify how I was feeling and why,” says playwright Ins Choi. “Many years later, I came across those rants and felt sorry for that couple back then trying to make ends meet, meet each other’s needs and the needs of a newborn.”
As the audience peaks inside the trials and errors of Charles and Norah’s marriage and parenthood, even those of us without children can find something to relate. Finding who ‘we’ are within the collective of a marriage partnership, then having to adapt again when adding a newborn to the mix and the need to live up to the accompanying title of ‘Parent’. A message that rings true in every interpersonal situation is the need for communication, in this case pushing Norah and Charles to be clear to each other about their needs and insecurities and to the audience about their story, and keep us rooting for the family. We look forward to the sequel to see how the family adapts to school years, but in the meantime don’t miss this chapter in the lives of these not-so Bad Parents.
VACT’s production of Bad Parent plays at The Cultch Historic until October 23, show details and tickets on sale at thecultch.com