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Maddie Bautista and Deanna H. Choi

“Love your friends for a long time – no one will see you in the same way your friends do.

Erin Brubacher

Joe Szekeres

I’ve seen Maddie Bautista and Deanna Choi’s names in theatre programmes in the Toronto area for several years. I’ve always thought they were behind the scenes in theatre production. I had no idea they are performers as well. Their ‘comedy-special-meets concert atmosphere of ‘Love You Wrong Time’ will play at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre April 20-23.

According to a press release: ‘Love You Wrong Time is a brand-new work. Created and performed by Maddie and Deanna, directed and created with Erin Brubacher, and visually designed by Helen Yung – it delivers a hilarious, no-holds-barred song cycle featuring two friends looking for love while contending with the fetishization of Asian women. Using music, true stories, bar games, and stand-up, Maddie and Deanna’s inventive, interactive show serves as a battle cry in the wake of mass violence against Asian femmes, creating a space for rage, grief, tenderness, and ruthless comedy.”

I conducted an interview with them via email about ‘Love You Wrong Time’, and their comic flair became immediately apparent to me. For example, Maddie said she broke up with Covid a year ago as the two of them had a very toxic relationship and she had to move on. Deanna concurred with Maddie. She said there’s a lot of bullshit going on right now in the world and we need to deal with it through laughter.

Ergo, this ‘comedy-special-meets concert atmosphere’ is something we might all just need right now. Maddie believes ‘Love You Wrong Time’ is the perfect setting to meet a potential date or make a spicy connection:

“You get to test a cute audience member's politics and belly laugh in the same evening. Get your instincts for scoping out prospects ready. This show is how I met my partner! Our 5-year anniversary lands on a show day… April 21st.”

Deanna also spoke about the informative journey for the show’s germination. She and Maddie had about five iterations of the show with a limited one-off audience. This process proved beneficial because they could see what was working and what didn’t. If a joke or anecdote falls flat for any reason whatsoever, it gets rewritten.

The show has evolved as the two of them have developed further as humans and artists. What is meaningful to Deanna and Maddie has changed over the years. Both believe for the show to work they must be live in front of an audience for each performance. Choi noted the highs are seeing how the show surprises them every night with new answers from the audience - those moments keep [Maddie and her] on their toes and keep the material fresh and alive.

Bautista and Choi hold a great deal of respect for the director of the show, Erin Brubacher. She constantly challenges the two of them to have fun in a no holds barred kind of way. By asking difficult questions about what they are doing with the show, Erin has got both Maddie and Deanna to be their true authentic selves in making the songs the centrepiece of the production while using anecdotes and banter with the audience to hold it together.

As the interview wrapped up, Maddie shared what she hoped one message the audience would take away with them after seeing ‘Love You Wrong Time’:

“Love your friends for a long time – no one will see you in the same way your friends do.

Nightwood Theatre presents a Bad Muse Collective production of ‘Love You Wrong Time’ at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Toronto. The production runs to April 20-23. Tickets for the evening performance are all sold out, but 20 Pay What You Can tickets are available at the door for the Saturday, April 22, 2 pm matinee.

To learn more about Nightwood Theatre:

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