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
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.”
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.
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.