A sketchbook of 1812 Productions’ ‘This Is the Week That Is’

Drawing inspiration from a satirical revue

I brought my sketchbook to Plays & Players Theatre on December 10 to take in 1812 Productions' This Is the Week That Is. Here I share the visual notes I make to myself; these will later serve as the basis for a finished illustration. I spared you the spoilers and funniest parts so you can see the show yourself!

The finished drawing for 1812 Production's "This Is the Week That Is." (Illustration for BSR by Mike Jackson of alrightmike.com)

1 (sketchbook page 1): Just sat down. The stage looks great. The screens in the back flash "This Is" "The Week" "That Is" around wire-frame globes. I start drawing the players as soon as they take the stage. Usually these are just warmups until I can get the feel for the production and learn what to draw and what should be left for the audience in attendance.

2 (sketchbook pages 2-3): More warmups; not all of the sketches are winners. The first skit featured the players dressed as Republican presidential candidates in a Project Runway satire titled Project Run the Country My Way

3 (sketchbook pages 4-5): Next up is After Hours with Hillary. She's explaining to us how spontaneous and fun she is. There's an appearance by Bill Clinton accompanying her with his saxophone. The musicality throughout the show was wonderful.

4 (sketchbook pages 6-7): Keeping Up with the Caucasians, a reality show where a mixed-race couple moves into a house haunted by a not-racist-just-old-school ghost. They learn to live with each other. Kind of. Then there was a number where all the candidates danced around the stage. If I were to go to finish with this illustration, I'd use the stick figures and earlier drawings from Project Run the Country My Way to flesh it out.

5 (sketchbook pages 8-9): The Donald Trump Christmas. I loved seeing which candidate came out as what character within the sketch. For instance, Rick Santorum was a caterer, because it's the only way he could get into the party. This devolved into a full-fledged parody reenactment of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," which featured Donald Trump (in all his misogyny), putting a bullhorn over his crotch. That's probably something that I'll never get to draw again, so I had to take advantage of that moment.

6 (sketchbook pages 10-11): This Is the News That Is, which is a direct descendant of Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update," with an anchor making jokes about the news and then going out to correspondents in the field.

7 (sketchbook pages 12-13): More correspondents for This Is the News That Is.

8 (sketchbook pages 14-15): View from My Stoop with Patsy. Loved the accent, and this character is brilliant. I told my wife that it warmed my heart and reminded me of visiting my grandmom in Mayfair. The thing that makes the Philadelphia accent so difficult for those who aren't from the area (like my wife) is that it really can't be relayed on paper. But I tried here anyway. After the Patsy segment, Uncle Shotzy and Bernie Sanders sold us a holiday album, Time-Life Classics style.

9 (sketchbook page 16): More musicality on display as the whole crew performed "Don't Stop Me Now" to close out the show.


For Mark Cofta's review of the production, click here.

Warm-up sketches of the set and the performers as they enter. Republican presidential candidates in a ”Project Runway” satire titled ”Project Run the Country My Way.” Next up is ”After Hours with Hillary,” with an appearance by Bill on saxophone. ”Keeping Up with the Caucasians,” another reality show takeoff. The ”Donald Trump Christmas” devolved into a parody of ”Shake It Off” in which Trump put a bullhorn over his crotch. ”This Is the News That Is” is a direct descendant of the ”Weekend Update” segments on ”Saturday Night Live.”  More correspondents for ”This Is the News That Is.” ”View from My Stoop” with Patsy, who reminds me of my grandmom in Mayfair.  More musicality on display as the whole crew performed ”Don't Stop Me Now” to close out the show.

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