By Tierney Banco, news correspondent
Using comedy as a tool for social activism, Acting Out, Northeastern’s theatre group dedicated to promoting social change, hosted “Wednesday Night Live,” a performance at AfterHours in support of the NU Votes campaign and inspired by “Saturday Night Live,” on Oct. 13.
Complete with appearances by fellow campus entertainers NU & Improv’d and musical guests The Downbeats, the event’s main objective was to motivate students to vote, according to Elliot Horen, president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and a junior information science and business major.
“In an election with historically unpopular candidates, we have to redouble our efforts to get people to the polls,” Horen said. “When young people don’t vote, we allow older generations to determine our future. We are working to convince students that they can make an impact.”
Acting Out is one of many groups on campus, including the SGA and the Resident Student Association (RSA), who are working together on this goal.
“We think the event really fits with the mission of our club which is activism through theatre,” Stephanie Eisemann, president of Acting Out and a senior communications major, said. “Last spring our show was called “Political Playoff” and was about voter apathy and engagement on campus. In response we were approached by NU Votes to join their registration campaign this year. We were happy to be involved in such a great series and thought that a sketch night would be the best fit for our group.”
During the performance, Acting Out members performed their own politically oriented sketches, with plenty of jabs at presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Zach Pierce, a sophomore civil engineering major, played the outspoken Republican candidate with an exaggerated voice and a tiny prop hand.
“It was great,” Pierce said, in character. “Couldn’t have been better. The show was great, the cast was great, the audience was great. Can’t wait to do it again.”
The organizers of “Wednesday Night Live” highly encouraged the audience to get out and vote on Election Day.
Eisemann expressed hopes that the power of a comedic performance will provide students an accessible way to think about their civic duties.
“Comedy can not only give us a different perspective on politics and a well needed mental break, but it can also introduce people who might otherwise not engage by generating buzz through a different, less traditional forum,” Eisemann said.
Acting Out even set up a table in AfterHours to help register students during the event.
“It is a fun way to get people interested in politics and get them registered,” said Conor Gay, a senior marketing major and the director of Acting Out. Gay also hosted the event and impersonated Bill Hader’s iconic SNL character Stefon in a Weekend Update sketch.
“Luckily, most people were already registered,” Gay said. “It’s just making sure they actually go out and vote.”
Stephanie Eisemann compiles data for The Huntington News’ weekly crime log.
Photo by Paige Howell