Tak­ing the leap

Af­ter per­form­ing in scripted plays and mu­si­cals, Mor­gan Wag­ner jumps right into a Big WHAT Sketch Com­edy on Wed­nes­day evenings at The Guild this sum­mer

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SALLY COLE

Af­ter per­form­ing in scripted plays and mu­si­cals, Mor­gan Wag­ner jumps right into a Big-WHAT Sketch Com­edy on Wed­nes­day evenings at The Guild this sum­mer.

When ac­tress Mor­gan Wag­ner saw a call for artists for the up­com­ing aBigWHAT Sketch Com­edy sea­son, she be­came ex­cited with the prospect of try­ing some­thing new.

That was un­til her ex­cite­ment turned into but­ter­flies.

“I al­most didn’t go to the au­di­tion be­cause I was so ner­vous,” says Wag­ner, known for her por­trayal of the so­cialite, Phillipa Gor­don, in this sum­mer’s pro­duc­tion of Anne & Gil­bert - The Mu­si­cal in Char­lot­te­town.

While the UPEI mu­sic grad­u­ate has per­formed in choirs and plays and mu­sic fes­ti­vals, her en­tire life, the im­prov com­edy genre was out of her com­fort zone.

“That is ex­actly why I wanted to do it. I wanted to stretch my­self,” laughs the 20-some­thing who is the new­est cast mem­ber of aBigWHAT Sketch Com­edy that runs Wed­nes­days un­til Aug. 19 at The Guild in Char­lot­te­town.

The show presents one-of-akind hu­mor­ous per­spec­tives on mod­ern cul­ture and Prince Ed­ward Is­land life through sketches and videos.

Wag­ner is a great ad­di­tion to the com­edy troupe, says troupe mem­ber Ben­ton Hart­ley.

“Mor­gan brings pro­fes­sion­al­ism from the theatre world. An ab­so­lute pro, she can sing, dance and act.

“For me, the fun part about writ­ing for Mor­gan is the pos­si­bil­i­ties that her skillset have cre­ated. It’s a real treat,” says Hart­ley of the ac­tress who joins Cameron Mac­Don­ald, Olivia King, Ja­cob Hart­ley and him on stage this sum­mer.

As she ex­pected, Wag­ner faced a learn­ing curve, at first.

“I was very in­tim­i­dated be­cause the rest of the cast is so in their el­e­ment, and I was hes­i­tant to con­trib­ute any­thing dur­ing our writ­ing ses­sions.”

But as she be­came more com­fort­able with the process, she started adding her own ideas to

dis­cus­sions; even­tu­ally writ­ing a sketch on her own.

Now, af­ter months of re­hearsals and two live per­for­mances, Wag­ner has made the leap to im­pro­vi­sa­tional theatre.

“It has cer­tainly been a very dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence than “Anne & Gil­bert,” for ex­am­ple. I’m used to walk­ing in to a show with a com­plete and pol­ished script, so start­ing from scratch and re­ally be­ing a part of the cre­ative process has been fas­ci­nat­ing.”

Now, as she stretches to meet the de­mands of the show, she’s en­joy­ing her­self.

“The per­for­mance ex­pe­ri­ence is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. I’m ob­vi­ously used to some­thing more struc­tured but, hon­estly, when we get on­stage and add the au­di­ence into the equa­tion, I fi­nally felt right at home.”

She also en­joys work­ing with per­form­ers.

“They’re all hi­lar­i­ous. I love watch­ing them do their thing, and I’m ex­cited to add my own style of com­edy to the mix.”

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

Mor­gan Wag­ner, back left, and Olivia King have fun with their fel­low aBigWHAT Sketch Com­edy troupe mem­bers, prior to a re­cent Wed­nes­day night per­for­mance. Wag­ner’s back­ground in mu­sic and theatre is adding new el­e­ments into this year’s weekly show at The Guild. From front left are Ja­cob Roll­wage, Cameron Mac­Don­ald and Ben­ton Hart­ley.

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

Mem­bers of aBigWHAT Sketch Com­edy troupe stand in front of their new sign out­side The Guild in Char­lot­te­town. From left are Cameron Mac­Don­ald, Ja­cob Roll­wage, Ben­ton Hart­ley, Mor­gan Wag­ner and Olivia King.

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