The power of creativity in Mess—A curatorial statement by Katharine Carol
November 30, 2016
If you are one of my friends you know that I wax poetic, well perhaps not poetic, but wax anyway about the amazing theatre that is created for young audiences around the world and how important it is that audiences are able to experience it here in Vancouver, alongside our outstanding Canadian artists. I love the theatre, it is my first love, but like a first love it needs to be extraordinary, captivating, all encompassing and make me feel that watching the show is one of the best moments of my life. This was how I felt when I watched Mess for the first time. Caroline Horton’s play and performance made me laugh and cry and feel at such a depth that I couldn’t wait to jump out of my seat at the end of the performance to applaud her incredible talent. This play is a beautifully crafted piece of theatre that tells an issue-based story with such finesse that the audience cannot help but become engaged in the process.
Mess is a story about a young woman’s struggle with anorexia told with an honesty and insight that I have not experienced before. The main character, Josephine, takes us on her journey and she nails it when she talks about the power anorexia holds and the trouble it causes. She challenges her friends with the notion that it all gets better in the end and she is real, funny, quirky and a force to be reckoned with. Mess is an extraordinary piece of theatre that has clownesque qualities, is chaotic, delightful, funny, and sad. It is a play that tugs at your heartstrings resulting in its audience both laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time and it reminds me why I love the theatre and do the work that I do. It also reminds me that we can tell difficult stories about issues that plague the human condition with humour, pathos, and a creativity that leaves the audience feeling delighted by a character who against all odds finds a way to keep going.
I am obsessed with challenging society’s notion of what children’s art must look like. Whether the art is pure entertainment or deep, meaningful work, it must always have incredibly high production values and be the best work possible. Our children and youth—and quite frankly, adults, too— deserve the opportunity to engage and experience fantastic performances and understand the power of creativity through opportunities to see performances like Mess. This is a must see production because as Time Out in London states, Mess “comes perilously close to genius and announces Horton as a major major talent (****).”
Artistic & Executive Director of the Vancouver International Children’s Festival
Buy tickets now to this all ages show. Children 15 and under can see the show for only $15!