Heading to the 2012 presidential election, 1812 Productions hosts its annual political party, “This Is The Week That Is: The Election Special.” Presenting all the news that’s fit to skewer, the show runs through Nov. 4 at Plays and Players Theater, 1712 Delancey St.
This year, the show takes on the message of each party, asking how a volatile and divided political process connects with an angry and befuddled populace. Is Chik-fil-A a beacon of religious freedom or cholesterol-packed hate? And many more searing yet silly topics will be explored.
Appearing in the ensemble cast is writer-performer Aime Donna Kelly, who brings the audience up-to-the-minute entertainment news in the show’s TMZ send-up in one of her roles.
A graduate of the University of the Art were she received her BFA in Acting, Kelly says she knew from a very young age that performing was meant for her.
“I always loved being on stage. That was very clear to me from the beginning,” she says. “I think it was for my mother too, who started me with piano lessons. But after two lessons which I hated, I told her I wanted to be a dancer instead.”
Making the switch was a delight, but by the time she reached her freshman year in high school, the New York-born Kelly decided acting would give her more of what she wanted.
“I realized I had a lot to say on a political level,” she explains. “I realized there was more work to be done in the arts when it came to speaking your mind about civil and social issues going on n the world. So I quickly dropped musical theater, which is what I had been concentrating on in the performing arts school I attended, and went into acting because I felt as though plays had more to say and offer me.”
Continuing with her career choice, Kelly’s recent performance include Cathleen in “Dividing the Estate” at People’s Light & Theatre Company, a role at Flashpoint Theater Company, and Epic Theater Ensemble. Additionally, she is a Comedy/Sportz ensemble member, a teaching artist with Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York, and a senior teaching artist with Philadelphia Young Playwrights.
Because she wears so many hats, today Kelly collectively describes herself as a “theater artist. I’m also a teaching artist. I make theater. I sometimes act in a piece, sometimes write one and sometimes teach. And I love doing it all. I especially love teaching the next generation, maybe touching a student in a classroom who has that moment when they realize this is what they should be doing.”
Today, most of her efforts are centered around “This Is The Week That Is,” which creator and director Jennifer Childs notes brings us to a time that is both “thrilling and maddening…We understand that the candidates are continually in the process of defining and redefining themselves and each other. Our job as satirists is to take what they give us and explode it.”
And, according to Kelly, that’s what keeps the show so alive and completely current. “Our material is always being rewritten, after the debates and as the news changes daily. The audience gets very upset with us if we don’t keep on our toes.”
The cast also tries especially hard to make sure everything is fair. “So we make as much fun of both candidates as we can. We visit both their houses and see them as people.” (Kelly plays a very good and very funny Michelle Obama.)
In trying to be as current as possible, the show is constantly being updated and re-written.. “So this is not an easy show to do,“ Kelly says. “We sing, dance, act, and some of the people in the show even play instruments. But keeping it current is the fun part of the show, both for us and for our audience. And even if we don’t agree on how the show is to continue the next night, at least it keeps us on our toes.”
For times and ticket information, call (215) 592-9560.