Campus Profile: Kerry Billings

Now let me tell you, there is nothing more amazing than finding out that your dear friend has exciting news to tell you, news that excites them so much that they feel like they are going to burst out of sheer happiness. I am speaking from personal experience here. Last fall, after walking out of Theatre History class with my friends Kerry and Isa, Kerry turns, halts us on our way out of Vilas, and says that she has exciting news to share.  Kerry then proceeded to shove her phone at me, and told me to read what was on it. On her phone contained an email from the director of the University Theatre’s spring production of The Underpants by Steve Martin, asking her to accept her role as Louise, the lead. I couldn’t believe it! I was so proud of Kerry that I started to jump up and down! In honor of Kerry taking on the role of Louise, I decided to interview her to find out a little bit more about the play and stepping to the world of 1910 Germany, where the play is set.

  1. Year/Major:

Senior/Theatre and Drama and English with a Creative Writing Emphasis

  1. What is The Underpants about?

The Underpants is about a married couple: Theo and Louise, who go to the King’s parade, and while Louise is trying to get a good look at the King, her underpants unfortunately fall to her ankles (hence the name of the play). It’s the early 1900s, so the entire thing is Bad News Bears. Theo is also trying to rent out a room in the apartment, which attracts some interesting characters that may or may not have witnessed the little incident during the parade in the park the other day.

 

  1. What is your role in The Underpants?

I play Louise.

  1. What is one thing you have in common with your character?

I have a lot in common with my character. I think Louise and I are both very goofy and imaginative. We land ourselves in wild wacky scenarios without really meaning to.

 

  1. Why do you enjoy playing Louise?

Louise is basically a caricature of myself. She’s goofy, awkward, and well meaning, but always has her head in the clouds. She gets herself in a lot of trouble, but genuinely has a good heart. She is a pure cinnamon bun and I love her.

  1. What is your favorite part about being in The Underpants?

I really like the people I get to work with. Since it’s a comedy, they are all funny people. We are constantly cracking jokes and singing Africa by Toto. I meant it when I say the true underpants are the friends we’ve make along the way.

 

  1. If you could be any other character in the play (not Louise), who would you be and why?

If I was anyone else I’d want to be Gertrude. She’s a sass machine and a high quality friend.

  1. When did your love for theatre being?

I’ve been acting in plays since first grade (I think), playing the smallest roles possible. For example, there was a school production, and I was a shy little bean, so the teachers assumed I’d get stage fright and cast me as “Gus Grapes”. I had balloons tacked all over my body to represent the “grapes”. I was afraid of balloons, so you can guess how that went. I got into my first community show in third grade, and the rest is history.

 

  1. I know you are an avid playwright as well, when did that start? What kinds of plays do you write?

Oh by gee whiz are you correct. I started writing plays around second grade based on my minimal experience with elementary school theatre. I would write shows for my cousins to put on, and they hated it. I was always a bit much when it came to play writing. I’d write on for just about every birthday party or family vacation and make people read them with me. One time, we had a big family reunion, and I wrote a whole play festival overnight (yes, I was this extra). Most of my plays though are a mix of: humor, spooky, apocalypse, LGBT, family, murder and fantasy. I like to switch it up.

  1. Why should everyone come out and see The Underpants?

The Underpants is a goofy little comedic farce close to my heart. It’s got a great cast and crew, who are amazing to see in action. It’s an adaption by that wild and crazy guy Steve Martin, so you know it’s bound to get a chuckle out of you. It’s got a lot of heart and some feminist undertones, and you get to see me fall a lot, so that’s fun.

 

Bring a friend and come check out Kerry in The Underpants this weekend in the Mitchell theatre (on East Campus Mall) at 7:30 pm! You can buy tickets online or in the box office for only $13.00! I saw the play last weekend and it was a ton of fun; this isn’t a production you are going to want to miss out on!

-Photo credit to Beau Meyer-

Cover Photo Found Here