NOW Magazine - Fringe - - Fringe Preview - JON KA­PLAN

When Morgonn Ewen left mu­sic and turned to com­edy, she never knew she’d be able to blend the two art forms in Annabelle, the lusty, life-lov­ing con we meet in Annabelle’s Tails From Jail.

Con­victed of at­tempted mur­der, she’s in for an eight-year term and ex­plains to the au­di­ence, through song and laughs, her phi­los­o­phy and how she got where she is.

“We might think Annabelle’s at her low­est, but she sees her cur­rent state as a sit­u­a­tion that will help get her to the other side,” says Ewen, a fine singer as well as a comic. “She’s fix­ated on a guy called the Biter, and her big­gest strug­gle is rec­on­cil­ing her wants with what ac­tu­ally hap­pens to her.

“Her strength is mak­ing the best of a bad sit­u­a­tion, but her weak­ness is not be­ing able to hear the word no. She’s good at tak­ing the nos in her life and wig­gling them un­til she turns them into yeses.”

Annabelle, southern drawn and all, grew out of com­edy class­work Ewen did with Im­pa­tient Theatre; she then took her onstage at var­i­ous im­prov evenings. One night an au­di­ence mem­ber called out “Grand Ole Opry” when asked for a sketch lo­ca­tion, and Annabelle be­came a C&W singer.

“Un­like my jazz songs, which were cere­bral and had to be per­fectly de­liv­ered, Annabelle’s mu­sic and her char­ac­ter can both have mis­takes,” says the writer/per­former, slip­ping into a Deep South ac­cent.

“That was so lib­er­at­ing for me, like be­ing given free candy. It’s great to play a char­ac­ter who doesn’t care what hap­pens. That’s what im­prov is about, af­ter all. You agree that a train wreck is pos­si­ble and keep go­ing if it hap­pens, see­ing where it takes you.”

Work­ing at the Fringe rather than a bar or club al­lows Ewen to ex­plore the darker, more dra­matic side of Annabelle. That’s true also of the songs, all of which she wrote.

“I’ve been in­flu­enced by Dolly Par­ton, Linda Ron­stadt, Roy Or­bi­son and Ray Charles. The songs start off light but end up be­ing about stalk­ing and re­venge. What I’m try­ing to do is al­low the mu­sic to help the story arc – not re­peat the same ideas, but ex­plore them fur­ther.” From July 6 at the Tar­ragon Ex­tra Space.

Morgonn Ewen does time in Annabelle’s Tails From Jail.

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