Posted in Writing Life

*The Real Solution

Some of you may remember the mystery I posed here, and the solution I found here, regarding the puzzling Hebrew words above the entrance to Theatre Passe Muraille. Having discovered it was part of the gestalt created for the theatre’s play about a traditional Jewish wedding, I looked no further. But my Hebrew speaking friend didn’t give up.

He recently emailed me with the solution, brilliant and obvious as soon as he mentioned it (but brilliant because nobody else had come up with it!)

The Hebrew is an approximate translation of the theatre’s name. Passe Muraille is a French expression that means passer-through-walls. Theatre Passe Muraille originated back in the 1960’s with the

radical intention [to] create a distinctly Canadian voice in theatre. It was conceived in the notion that theatre should transcend real estate; that plays can be made and staged anywhere—in barns, in auction rings, in churches, bars, basements, lofts, even in streetcars and it was interested in the idea that theatre need not be a vehicle of social change, but rather it should endeavor always to be a mirror to social change.

In the 1970’s the theatre’s production of “I Love You Baby” was closed down by police for immorality, though charges were dismissed. The upside was that the play was so successful, the collective was able to put a downpayment on the old bakery/factory, which was in serious disrepair at the time. That was the old Queen St West, before it became chi-chi.

The Hebrew words, pass/passageway and walls is an approximate translation of “passe muraille”, while the “house of” was intended to give the impression of a synagogue, which it did. So hats off to the clever people who designed it and to my friend who arrived at the complete solution.

Further to the subject of creativity, my younger daughter (age eight) offers up the following:

click on photo to enlarge

And the snow has all melted, but the day it came down, my children built this on the back deck:

click to enlarge

Completed, it looked like this:

click to enlarge


Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

6 thoughts on “*The Real Solution

  1. The fort reminds me of ones built on our Chicago street over fifty years ago…long melted…so lovely…well fortified for the snowball wars with the gang on the westside of the street. And what a lovely solution to the mystery as well.

  2. I loved your daughter’s art! That snow wall is a thing of beauty and a feat of engineering! And of course – passe murailles. Lovely concept and so perfect for the theatre.

  3. That snow fort looks lovely (and would be welcome here as we’re having a heat-wave). Well done to your creative kids and also to your friend for the Passe Muraille solution, which makes a fitting metaphor for the theatre.

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