Toronto Fringe Festival is a trove of incredible theatre. We’ve chosen some of the best playwrights and directors from this year’s festival to find out what makes them tick, and what you can expect to see this year. 

For this installment, we speak to Christel Bartelse, writer and lead performer in All KIDding Aside.

SDTC: What’s your play about?

CB: All KIDding Aside is about running out of time to make the ultimate decision of my life. Should I have a baby and become a devoted mom? Or will the fears of giving birth and giving up my career win this battle? Or do I even have a choice? Set at my gynecologist’s office, while waiting for some important results, I share my fears about life, all told through comedy, song, mask, physicality, multiple characters and storytelling.

How’d you come up with this concept?

Since getting married a year and a half ago, the number one question I received from people was, “When are you having kids?” I was tired of this question, and also the way people asked “WHEN?” like it’s inevitable.

Most challenging/rewarding aspects?

The most challenging aspect for me is always the writing. I had the idea, I could see the final product, I knew I wanted to perform it, but it’s being disciplined and getting it written, and then rewriting, and rewriting. And then when you finally have draft #35 done, you realize you have to memorize it all. The most rewarding part is that I got to work with amazing Director Michelle Polak and we really built an important show.

What do you want audiences to take away?

The show speaks to anyone who has ever had a moment of doubt as to whether they should have children or not. But on a universal level, it’s about facing our fears, making choices and decisions. Above that, it’s a fun, touching, high-energy show. A true comedic rollercoaster that makes you laugh and could make you cry. It’s very honest and has a lot of heart.

How does it resonate with you personally?

It is my story. It’s my fears, my journey. It’s the most honest and vulnerable I have been on stage, which is nerve-wracking but exciting. Also being the creator, producer, writer and performer, this show is so close to me. I’m breathing and living it, daily. But I’m so grateful for my team and the amazing women who have inspired me.

All KIDding Aside runs from July 1 to July 9 at Tarragon Theatre Extraspace. Get your tickets here.