Feb. 24-26, 7:30 p.m., March 1-3, 7:30 p.m.
Joshua R. McTaggart ’13
Produced by Ally M. Kiley ’14
and Gökan Demirkazik ’14
“Hot Mess” is a fairy tale staged on a catwalk. The performance is built around the surreal, physical connection between twins Twitch (Emily B. Hyman ’13) and Polo (Bryan D. Kauder ’14) who were born with one heart between them. As a result, Polo cannot love and Twitch can do nothing else. The production’s treatment of their shared heart places the show alongside Grimm’s bloodier stories of the fantastic, bypasing the sugared Disney renditions. “It’s interesting to blend the surrealist aspect of the heart between them with the real tragedy—that one of them truly cannot love,” Kauder says. Joshua R. McTaggart ’13, the director and a Crimson arts writer, agrees, suggesting that the fantastical, disturbing elements of the play serve to better illuminate the realistic aspects of the production. “There are fairy tale elements to the play, but they deal with real emotion, real pain, real tragedy,” he says.
However, “Hot Mess” refuses to allow the gravitas of its themes to weigh it down. British playwright Ella Hickson, who wrote the play and will give a pre-show talk on Saturday, March 3, aims to give her script a light touch without diluting its ultimate message. “Hot Mess” attempts to expose our preconcieved notions about love and sex without judgment by giving the audience a sense of responsibility. “What the play provides is this contemporary dialogue on what it means to be in love and have sex,” McTaggart says. Tt is up to the audience to decide what they take from the show, he adds.
The crew of “Hot Mess” makes this connection between viewer and production even more concrete by creating a club atmosphere for the play, with free non-alcoholic beverages served at the door. A catwalk runs through the middle of the space and plays up the party atmosphere of the staging. McTaggart explains the set choice, saying that the play deals with love as performance. Sound designer, Caleb J. Thomson ’14, a Crimson arts writer, makes liberal use of Rihanna’s smash hit “We Found Love.” The youthful energy of the production is a vehicle for the themes of the play: love, sex, and the almost unbearable force of obsession that ties us to them.
—Sorrell L. Nielson