Kathryn Elizabeth Kelly’s one-woman show begins with a simple idea: “say yes.”
Following the end of a six-year relationship, Kelly resolves to “say yes” to every social invitation, to prevent herself from moping on the couch. When a friend invites her to a soiree at a local art gallery soon after, Kathryn agrees. So begins her yearlong journey through the after-hours clubs, VIP lounges, and embassies of Washington, D.C.
Describing her journey from “homebody to DC socialite” might be a bit modest – beginning as an accomplished actress, model, and dancer certainly gives Kelly a head-start over most of us, and a solid footing to launch her adventure.
Armed with a Facebook-inspired presentation, a call bell dinging with every “yes,” and a lively soundtrack, she chronicles her experiment in agreement, one that leads her through the twists and turns of DC’s high society and, ultimately, towards personal recovery.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent, Kelly assures her audience, but even disguised, the characters and milieus are enough to make any aspiring socialite drool: “D. Piddy,” a raconteur party-goer who can name-drop and glad-hand his way past any line or velvet rope, takes her under his wing. A limo owned by “The Doctor” idles outside fashion shows and philanthropic fundraisers, waiting to whisk her to the next galla. “Captain Morgan,” the generous heir to a liquor fortune, guides Kelly to VIP tables at exclusive restaurants and clubs. She meets “The Billionaire” (no further explanation needed). A supreme court justice even makes a brief appearance.
From horse races and performances at the Kennedy Center to fashion runways and private yachts, Kelly answers every invitation with a cheerful, “yes,” often booking three or more events a night (and sending out dozens of “template emails” to warn off her would-be suitors). The couch she left behind is still waiting for her when each night finally ends, often as the next day is just beginning.
STATUS – A Social Media Experiment
by Kathryn Elizabeth Kelly
at Caos on F
923 F Street NW
Washington, DC, 20004
Details and tickets
Entertaining as this premise is, the description belies a deeper search that guides Kelly: the search for meaning, closure, and a sense of self. As the year progresses and the invitations pile up, Kelly’s call bell ringing furiously throughout, fatigue sets in. The vacuous jet-set leaves her numbed. The months of non-stop socializing takes its toll, both physically and emotionally, as she swings from pre-dawn celebrations to sleeping on her office floor.
She has hundreds of Facebook “friends,” but has no one to call. Although Kelly’s journey takes her up the social ladder, she finds the real trials she must overcome are often existential (no easy feat in four-inch heels). As she dances, struts, and occasionally stumbles her way towards resolution, the audience can’t help but cheer her onward.
So take a tip from this actress and “say yes” to Status Update. With its combination of humor and candor, anchored by Kelly’s engaging stage presence and quick wit, Status Update offers an insightful glimpse into one of D.C.’s most celebrated pastimes, the age-old art of social climbing.