The Big Hot Mess
June 3-18 at 8 PM
EXIT Theatre - 156 Eddy, San Francisco
GET TICKETS HERE!
Produced by DIVAfest
Truly excellent show at the EXIT right now- THE BIG HOT MESS, which is anything but, it’s actually a very sly, very chic, very stylish little show featuring two excellent performances by auteur Catherine Debon and co-star Kevin Copps. Wonderful work by Amanda Ortmayer and Jason Mendez in the booth. Go see it. It’s a truly unique little piece, a stellar example of exactly what the EXIT does best.
Check out this interview with Catherine Debon!
Who are you?
CD: I came from France in the 80s to take dance classes at the Alvin Ailey School in New York. When I reached the Bay Area I collaborated with various artists in performing art and really appreciated making art beyond the traditional boundaries of dance or theater. I discovered Action Theater, a form of physical theater improvisation that facilitates creating narratives rooted in movement, musicality and imagination. As a result, my writing originates “dreaming up” characters and imagery from physical improvisations. For this play, once I had my “blue print” of the male character, I set up improvisations with Kevin Copps to expand his character and Kevin has been a great help “noiring up” the language of his character.
How did you get involved with DIVAfest?
CD: After winning the best of the 2011 San Francisco Fringe festival, Christina Augello invited me to perform at the 2012 DIVAfest. The theme that year was women’s solos and here is the kick ass review we got if you feel like reading more here
I was really thrilled to have found a community of women artists and I became part of the volunteering tribe. For about 2 years I curated the DIVAs Tell All -- a quarterly series for women to show their work in progress. I perform and volunteer at our annual fundraiser and hope to see you all there May 22nd!
What is The Big Hot Mess about?
CD: The seed for the piece came out of brainstorming sessions with Christina Augello when we explored the topic of menopause and aging. Then it incorporated my experiences in the work place, exploring the theme of integrity and meaning in the face of a “boss” who is the representation of the corporate world.
We hear there is a film noir aspect that is essential to the style and story of the piece- can you tell us more about that?
CD: With improvisations I developed themes that included duct tape, death, the brutality of corporate America, and I was using evocative jazz music, so it became obvious that I was within a Noir frame. Then I enjoyed playing with the “over the top” stylized qualities that highlight the neurotic drama of the characters.
What about film noir attracts you?
CD: Noir did not necessarily attract me, as I mentioned above, but the creative process led me to it. Once it manifested itself, I realized the genre fits The Big Hot Mess, which points to the darker side of human nature and hopefully questions the Corporate Dream. I also do love trench coats and Fedoras and I can say "Noir" with the perfect French accent.
What do you think you can personally bring to the genre? Does The Big Hot Mess push any boundaries or surprise us with its take on film noir?
CD: Actually, The Big Hot Mess is a take off from Noir- it is not Noir itself. Hopefully, it highlights the absurdity of using corporate business models to serve struggling patient in mental health care and accentuates how business decisions can have inadvertent and terrible outcomes. Of course another important element of Noir is lighting. Originally I intended to run my own lights from the stage so I could travel the piece anywhere. Then I was lucky to start collaborating with light designer and director Amanda Ortmayer, who asks pertinent questions such as, “What do these characters have power over, and what controls them? Amanda deepens the story with the lights. There will be both practical lighting and stage lighting. If you’ve seen Amanda’s work you know it will be a beautiful and relevant set with incredible lighting.
In three words, why should people come see this show?
CD: Meaning, fun, songs. Oh… and I’ve got the right shade of lipstick!