Elizabeth Keiser’s Horror Navigates Current Events Using Humor as a Compass
Risk + vulnerability = comic revelation. Actress and playwright Elizabeth Keiser’s work seems to thrive on this combustible combo in order to push her performances past safe zones and into more dynamic territory. Her newest project, intriguingly titled Horror, is out to explore America’s current state of chaos. Now playing monthly at Aurora Providence, Horror is an evolving piece that aspires to find humor (and possible enlightenment) in current events – or as Keiser more aptly puts it “our everyday horrors.”
When pressed about choosing such an ominous title, Keiser stands by her choice saying, “There really is no other word for the horror around us.” She feels strongly that at this time in our world, “one must look deeply at how and when we got to where we are and how to proceed. There’s definitely a lot to laugh about in the face of self-reflection.” Plus, she says, “We also like how Horror is slightly alliterative with Aurora.”
Keiser approached the venue with the idea to do the show on a regular basis in order to keep it fresh. Basically, as she explains it, “because current events are unfolding quicker than a toddler slipping away at the mall.” Aurora agreed and booked Horror for every third Tuesday starting March 21 at 8pm.
Aurora is located at in the former Roots Café and Providence Black Rep space at 276 Westminster Street, Providence. The mixed-use creative space is curated with a philosophy of quality, inclusion and commitment to stimulating conversation – in other words, the perfect venue for Keiser’s work. Aurora’s Chrissy Wolpert, explains, “It’s incredibly important to everyone at Aurora that people feel safe to be, hear and feel at Aurora.”
“We feel Elizabeth’s work connects to our mission in many ways,” explains Aurora’s general manager, Chrissy Wolpert, “through great conversations with Elizabeth and her performances at Aurora it’s clear that whether the content is politically charged or not, it’s presented to stimulate thought, conversation and hopefully some laughter.”
Past winner of the RISCA Playwriting Merit Award, Keiser has honed her theatrical skills over the years in more jobs than I could possibly list here. Years spent auditioning and performing in New York led to her moving to Providence in the ’90s where she has consistently been in demand as an actress, director and writer. She is also well-known in educational circles for her anti-bullying tour and facilitating student workshops on reconciliation, teaching tolerance and understanding diversity.
As an artist, it seems that no aspect of her own life is off limits when creating a performance. Horror is Keiser’s reaction to our “post-election, pre-apocalyptic and internet dependent society.” She is newly re-energized to creating theater these days, explaining, “Performing is the only way I get myself to write these days, and writing is my only compass.” As for local audiences, Keiser feels that Horror “just may just be the catharsis they didn’t know they needed.”
Horror, an evolving piece by Elizabeth Keiser, plays every third Tuesday of the month at Aurora, 276 Westminster St., Providence. The March 21 performance will will begin with a “book signing by popular authors: Ivanka Trump, Rachel Dolezal and Monica Lewinsky with some skillful alternative moderation by Kellyanne Conway.”
The evening will showcase not only Keiser’s quirky skills as a comedienne and writer, but also a wide mix of local guest artists, actors, poets and musicians, and usually a few special guests. March’s special guests include: Marlon Carey, Mark Carter, Kenia Trinidad, Ky Why, Phoenyx Williams, Susan Bergeron, Krystal Hall and Stuart Window. Future Aurora shows will take place April 18, May 16, June 20 and July 18. Each will feature new material written and developed in sync with the national and international news cycles.