Not a review of Bâtardes

by Lynn on May 29, 2022

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto, Ont. from May 28-June 4.


Created and performed by Chloé and Jade Barshee

With Mathieu Beauséjour

The play is a search for identity by sisters Chloé and Jade Barshee and explores the question: Where are you from? Their father is Tibetan and their mother is Quebecois. They grew up in Quebec but did not have much connection with their Tibetan heritage so they went to find it.

We are told the play will be in French (Quebecois) and Tibetan with English surtitles. If one sat close to the back as I did, you can’t read the surtitles because the font was small and the lighting of the surtitles made them fuzzy in the dark light. Very rarely was the light brighter and one could just about read the surtitles. The Tibetan dialogue was not translated into English. Frustrating if one wanted a glimpse into the conversation in a Tibetan household. Often the surtitles changed quickly because the dialogue between the sisters was fast. Another hinderance to reading them.

We were told that this would be a relaxed performance and there were several efforts to make the performance as inviting as possible. Patrons were welcome to come and go as they wished if they felt at all uncomfortable in the space. The lighting would be dark briefly in two instances. There was a comfort room where a person could go and be calm with blankets etc. There would be a support person to talk to should they need to if something triggered them in the production. There would be references to the Tibetan uprising, torture and the efforts of Tibet to be free from China. There was a character of a ‘Monster’ that represented a yak etc. and was not real but performed by an actor.

One wonders how Bâtardes can be relaxing if there might be so much in the show to cause trauma to one not used to theatre. And contrary to the announcement, most of the show was in darkness and not just two brief scenes. Rarely was there enough light in the theatre for anyone to leave safely if one wanted to go to the comfort room. I had to wonder why anyone would want to come to a performance like this if the possibility of so many triggers were present.

One totally frustrating experience.

Theatre Passe Muraille Presents:

Runs until June 4.

Running Time: 80 minutes

Leave a Comment

Respectful comments are accepted on this site as long as they are accompanied by a verifiable name and a verifiable e-mail address. Posts that are slanderous, libelous or personally derogatory will not be approved.