Bad Parents A modern take on parenting

Parenting is like figuring out a puzzle in the play Bad Parents, says performers Raugi Yu and Josette Jorge. Bad Parents reveals the real story of parenting and does not hide behind rose colored glasses like other portrayals in vAct’s presentation at the Cultch Historic Theatre, Apr. 21–May 1.

“Always be kind. No matter what is happening or what you THINK is happening…always be kind,” says Yu, about the message he wants the audience to get.

Written by Ins Choi, Bad Parents was developed over four years, and the play is co-produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange and the Soulpepper Theatre Company.

Raugi Yu and Josette Jorge. | Photo by Emily Cooper

On marriage and parenting

New parents, Charles and Norah (Yu and Jorge), are trying their hardest with an overbearing toddler, but still fumble along the way on their journey. And both Yu and Jorge are extremely passionate about bringing this play to a live audience.

Yu and Jorge agree the play is very honest, which is also another side of beauty and a very real view of parenthood.

“I think it’s relevant because it is a story about so many things that come up through the evolution of being an individual, to becoming a couple, and then a family of three. All the vulnerability and discomfort as well as the love and revelation,” says Yu.

Yu points out he was able to be a part of the workshopping and iteration of this play for two years, and was recognized by being offered the role of Charles. He also mentions how thankful he is that he has been able to work with Jorge and their director, Meg Roe.

Jorge shares that the best part of working on this story is being able to share the stage with Yu, who is one of her closest friends. They have been friends since 2003 when they first shared the screen. Since then, they have worked in TV and film together.

Ongoing challenges

Although COVID-19 dampened the mood a little bit, the actors are eager to finally portray this narrative in front of audiences. It is their first project back from the pandemic. Yu shares how he has come to accept COVID-19 as part of the “new normal” and has now pivoted to account for uncertainty due to COVID-19.

As for Jorge she mentions commuting from Toronto with her nine month old baby. Her husband and toddler, 3, are in Toronto. This separation of the Jorge family has been hard since they have never been so far apart before for so long! But luckily the family will be reunited on opening night.

For Yu, balancing various parts of his life such as coaching, teaching and stage, has been particularly difficult. There are only four characters in the play, therefore demands were higher.

“There were some nights I only got three hours of sleep. All totally worth it,” he says.

Above all, Yu and Jorge would like the audience to be able to resonate with the play and understand that people can relate to their pain, especially with parenting. Jorge mentions how her character, Norah, represents the moms who love their child but are unsure if they are doing the best for them. As for Yu, he underlines that the characters represent the traditional sense of marriage and parenting, but also shed light on the harshness of the tradition and how it impacts their progression as people.

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