If you’re a fan of parodies, a new production called “Trumpilton,” stars a handful of local actors, written by local writers.
“Trumpilton” tracks the road to the Trump presidency, set to Broadway music and portrayed by a cast of four who take on at least that many roles each.
“Everybody’s doing a one-man show and it’s all four of them together, so it’s like a four-ring circus,” said writer Karen Klami.
I met her and co-writer and co-director Burnham Holmes, along with cast members Michael Kingsbury, Danielle Houston and Lina Cloffe, at a coffee shop recently to find out more about the show.
“Burnham and I have known each other as writers for good long while,” Klami said, and Holmes added, “This is the first show we’ve written together. We started meeting every Wednesday February through May.” They wrote it almost entirely from direct quotes and stories covered in the news, and “hours and hours reading through Tweets.”
“It’s a parody, so we used Steven Sondheim’s music and other composers, but it’s our lyrics,” Klami added.
You’ll recognize the cast immediately — Cloffe with her long blonde hair plays Ivanka and Melania, among others; Houston plays Hillary Clinton, Stormy Daniels and Sara Huckabee Sanders, among others; and Kingsbury plays Trump and a melee of concerned citizens.
“It’s a non-stop show,” Klami said. “These guys have done leaps and bounds. Whatever talents we knew they had, they’re showing them.”
“No, I have more,” Houston deadpanned.
They all agreed that the show is more than just straight imitations of the real-life people they’re portraying.
“I think they embody them in a way that they’re recognizable, but they create another dimension,” Klami said. “That’s what’s fun for the audience to see. We’re taking what people recognize and putting them in a scenario.”
“I got booed and cheered at the same time,” Kingsbury said about playing Donald Trump. “I try to play up the comedic things he says as opposed to lightening some of the misogynistic things he says.”
“He feels out the audience the way a stand-up comic would,” Klami said. “So every night is different. That was part of our hope in getting the actors that we chose — reading the audience and responding. We don’t know what’s going to happen sometimes.”
“It’s funny the moment the audience gets who you are,” Cloffe said. “That moment is very rewarding, and then you roll with it.”
“If you’re not a Trumpster you’ll love it so much you’ll vote for him again,” Kingsbury joked, and Klami finished, “So we can write the sequel.”
Parental discretion is advised, although the writers assure there’s nothing in it that isn’t on the nightly news. Cloffe said her 13-year-old son saw it and loved it, but added, “he’s also very aware of what’s going on.” In general the consensus was age 13 and older.
The two-hour show will have three performances in Rutland, at the B&G Gallery, 74 Merchants Row in Rutland: at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Tickets are $12, $9 for seniors, cash or check at the door.