‘Bloody Mess’ Programme note by Tim Etchells

A: Its important to cry.

B: No it isn’t.

Its more important to laugh.
(Bloody Mess)

I think, maybe, we have got closer than ever before to a certain dream – that of making a work which on the surface seems quite out of control and cannot be successfully turned into a story and yet, at the same time functions effectively at every level.

We’re following the strict, even minimalist approaches of recent projects from Dirty Work to First Night and The Travels with a project that’s emphatically more layered. Definitely and proudly theatrical, Bloody Mess is composed in a spirit more akin to that of painting, choreography or even late-night channel hopping. It’s about the collision of different worlds and personas – collisions at which sparks fly, collisions that can be both comical and disturbing.

Bloody Mess has been made as part of the company’s 20th Birthday celebrations and it seems like a very appropriate project at this point in time. For us, the mess and its structured exuberance is something of a manifesto; an insistence that theatre can be more than drab story or literary rhetoric, that its heart lies in play, in liveness and in the event.

Something happens. Something unfolds. And you’re there to join the dots and enjoy.

Tim Etchells
Sheffield 2004