Fringe Fest’s Sassiest Show

Calling All Messy Bitches

Messy Bitch is one this summer’s most anticipated Fringe Festival performances Photo Ocean DeRouchie

Wake up, you’re hungover. You can’t find your wallet. Where are your keys? What happened to your Tinder date last night? Oh god, you haven’t spoken to your parents in over a week. Now you’re late for work.

With this in mind, you might just be a messy bitch. But that’s cool, we like messy bitches here!

This is the essence that Messy Bitch —one of this Summer’s most anticipated Fringe Festival performances—captures in its 30 minutes of limelight.

Starring Jessica Rae, the quick and snappy play was created in collaboration with Renée Sawtelle, and directed by Hannah Dorozio.

Nestled into the second floor of The Black Theatre Workshop, Lydia, a deranged puppet with a gap tooth smile greeted audience members as they shuffled into the little studio. Surrounding her; a pile of glittering clothes strewn around the floor, a large purple cat face staring back at you.

Lydia, the artistic creation of Rae herself, is an alter-ego. Rae slips on a tutu and Lydia and her become one. Despite being the only person on stage, Rae uses puppetry to add extra characters to her performance.

While Rae admits that it’s her own energy that brings Lydia and others to life, you simply “can’t decide who they will be, they decide that,” she said.

Rae’s monologue is about her beloved bitch-face, asserting yourself, and just feeling down right “over it” in a society that pressures women how to look, act, speak and think.

With a wicked sneer and heaps of attitude, Rae captures the attention of the audience without effort as she works her way from one end of the spectrum to the other in owning the word “bitch.”

“In the early stages of writing the show, Renée and I talked a lot about the word bitch and how, often, when men are being loud, using their voice, taking up space and being opinionated, they’re seen as strong leaders,” explained Rae. “Often, when women exhibit those same traits, we’re called bitches.”

These conversations were the take-off point for the script, said Rae. Still, the creator’s vision for the play was to make people rethink the way we use the word. “It has a lot of weight to it, but sometimes it’s also used so casually we don’t even think about how we’re using it,” she said.

Once a relatively simple insult, the waters of the meaning of “bitch” have become muddy with various interpretations. Messy Bitch’s angle looks at the term from an apologetic point of view.

“Sometimes women apologize for being a bitch as a way to excuse the honest things we’re about to say,” explained Rae. But that’s not what being a “bitch” is about, in the negative sense—“that’s just being human,” she said.

Messy Bitch calls on all of you who have been catching the buzz since day one. Gracing the cover of Cult MTL this week, her show has garnered the attention of fringe lovers and theatre critics alike.

With only two days left of the marvelous festival, take a chance on Messy Bitch and try to snag some tickets!

Messy Bitch (Final Show Tonight) / 10 p.m. / Black Theatre Workshop (3680 Jeanne Meance) / 18+ / $8