Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spotlight On...Amber Kelly

Name: Amber Kelly

Hometown: Born in Detroit, grew up in Texas

Education: BA in Theater from Texas Wesleyan University, studied with Austin Pendleton at HB Studios in NYC, trained at Atlantic Theater Company School

Select Credits: Nominated for Best Lead Actress this past season for the role of Cate in Sarah Kane’s Blasted (one of the least produced, most talked about plays) Wilbury Group, Providence Rhode Island. Tour the world with several projects offered by Catharsis Productions. Rosannah DeLuce in Brilliant Traces, off-off Broadway. Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Garland Shakespeare in the Park. Voiced several young boys on the Cartoon Network show "DragonBallZ"

Why theater?: Theatrics preceded language.  Tribes would gather around the campfire to perform the hunt and adventures of the day.  This is storytelling.  This is how we commune.  This is what makes us human.  And sure we exaggerate, and highlight the best parts, and that is how we are happy, and sad, and all of the more complex emotions we are capable of.  When we share them, we understand that we are not alone.

Who do you play in Another Kind of Love?: Collin, the youngest sister/drummer

Tell us about Another Kind of Love: Another Kind of Love is a mash-up of band drama and family drama, as well as projecting emotion in the different art forms of theater and music.  It is largely the coming of age story of Max, the daughter.  I recall connecting all of my emotion and confusion to rock music when I was figuring out who I was.  I would play songs for my parents with hope, only to be dashed that they truly just don’t understand.  There is a connection to music, passion and family as we peek inside the home of some of the most famous rock personas of our youth.

What is it like being a part of Another Kind of Love?: This show has been one of the biggest challenges of my career.  When I played Cate in Sarah Kane’s Blasted, it was the largest challenge I could imagine.  Little did I know that this project would confront me only a year later.  Jefferey Thomas is a hero for taking us group of rag tag actresses with some experience on our respective instruments and creating a famously loved band, The Dark Hearts.  Beyond building a band, we have been building a play.  This is the world premier of Another Kind of Love, so there has been a lot of communication back and forth between the productions company, InFusion, here in Chicago and the creators, Crystal Skillman and Heidi Rodewald back in NYC.  The play, the songs, the music has been in flux as we work together to find the perfect chemistry to tell this story.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I believe that American theater today has earned a reputation as a diversion, or worse a dreaded responsibility to go see your friend, niece, fellow theater professional in a show.  I seek out theater that is different and engaging and challenges what it means to “go to a play.”  I seek to bring excitement back to the theater and seek opportunities that represent an event for the audience.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: All of the good ones!

What’s your favorite showtune?: I’m not a big fan of musicals, actually.  I have a hard time explaining that this show is not a music, but a play about musicians with music in it.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work with Michael Shannon.  I maintain it’s a possibility.  He glared at me once when I got a little close to him with my motorcycle while he was crossing the street.  It’s a start.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Kate Winslet?  I don’t know, I’d rather play Kate Winslet.  Can the movie just be called “?”  Prince could get away with that.  I still have so much life left to live I can’t imagine putting a title on it just yet.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I’ve recommended Sleep No More as something incredibly different.  Calling it a play is a little bit of a stretch, but I like that.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Bathing.  I take at least one a day.  I believe in pleasure.  No need for guilt here.

What’s up next?: I head to Alaska for some shows with Catharsis Productions directly following the closing of Another Kind of Love.  I am currently writing a “choose your own adventure” play about the Dyatlov Pass Incident called, An Unknown Compelling Force for my theater company, Theater of Thought.  There will be several branches to the story, so the show will be different every performance.  I’m looking forward to being on the other side of a world premiere as the writer. Another Kind of Love on Broadway?