Theatre-maker + Creative Producer
Mess League: A sport where one team makes a mess while the other cleans up. Two incredible teams of highly trained professional Mess Leaguers got ready to play their first match on Australian shores. Unfortunately, they all got caught up in a doping scandal and were disqualified. So instead, two teams of audience participants underwent fifteen minutes of training. Let the games begin.
Mess League is an immersive theatrical sporting event that takes the excitement, community, intensity, risk-taking and fun of sport and heightens the theatrics. The work rethinks the traditional skill and athleticism of sport and instead examines the drama, the liveness, and the atmosphere of a sporting event.
The work splices sport with improv comedy. It is participatory, with all those in attendance becoming co-creators in the event. Each show is unique to the offers and energies of the audience, who become the work either as a player in the game or a spectator in the bleachers.
The work is set up as a sporting event, where audience player sign-ups are invited to attend 20-minutes before the game begins. They are assigned their teams and super-coach, given their uniforms and undergo a short training session with their teams. Within this training, the super-coaches explain the practicalities, safety considerations, rules of the game and tactics.
The spectators arrive, and are greeted by the popcorn vendor, who chats with them and hands out signs to wave for their chosen team. The sports announcer relays a live running commentary of the events as they unfold. Pre-game antics ensue, including an explanation and set-up of the Mess League event.
Mess League involves a performance structure from within which the players and spectators play, with many different possibilities of what might happen. Within the structure comes random events, happenings, and provocations, as the rules change, super-coaches cheat and new elements are added into play.
The game itself, at its simplest, involves the Mess Team, armed with (recycled and salvaged) confetti, toilet paper, foam-peanuts, streamers and more. Their goal is to keep the playing space as messy as possible. The Clean Team aims to keep the space as tidy as possible. The judging system is mainly ridiculous and arbitrary, focussing on the theatricality of the teams, passion, sportsmanship, as well as the final results.
Mess League was developed and produced with the assistance of Crack Theatre Festival for
Crack Festival 2019.
Performers and Devisers: Amy Morris, Reid McManus, Dominic Fitzgerald and James McCaffrey
"Mess League was everything I wanted it to be and more"
"High energy and frantic fun"
"It was exciting and gave the audience a chance to engage and help or hinder the teams.
I would watch it again and participate in Mess League in a heartbeat"