Posted by Cecile Lucas, July 13th, 2017
Emerging performer/theatre-maker and recent WAAPA graduate Morgan Owen is our last Coma Land cast member to be quizzed. While this marks her debut with Black Swan Theatre Company, Morgan has already started to make a name for herself in the theatre world with recent work including The War on Food (Perth Fringe, 2016), The Book of Life (Perth Fringe, 2017) and Paradise (Adelaide Fringe, 2017) which she co-wrote and performed in. In Will O’Mahony’s new play, Morgan plays Penguin, a young girl trapped in the world-in-between, who is determined to fly. Her performance on stage is brilliant, and we were very excited to catch up with her and chat about the show ahead of its Western Australian premiere next Thursday.
What was your first impression after reading Coma Land script, and what was about this play that grabbed you most?
What really charmed me after first reading Coma Land was the story. The play is centred around people and the relationships that exist between them and despite being set in a kind of other-worldly limbo full of rules and time limits, it focuses on a simple story that is delicate, joyous and full of heart. There’s a vulnerability to it and it can go from being incredibly funny one moment to quite devastating the next and that’s something I find very exciting.
What do you see as some of the main ideas behind this play? How do you think audiences will respond?
I think at its core it’s a story about parents and children. It explores what happens if conditions are placed on a love that should be unconditional and what happens as a result of trying control something (like raising a child) which is not something to be mastered but rather a gift. It’s a play about mastery and acceptance and, I think, a celebration of difference. It’s not a play that tells you what to think, it’s doesn’t present a black and white version of what is right and what is wrong. The characters are all a little morally ambiguous and for that reason I think it will resonate with people and stay with them after they leave the theatre!
You play a little girl named Penguin in Coma Land. What can you tell us about your character and what is it that you like about her?
Penguin is a character who runs at a million miles a minute. She’s been isolated all her life so she can be a little awkward but she’s completely unaware of it like most young children. She’s a character who, in contrast to Boon – who’s a prodigy, isn’t an intellectual character but she is extremely emotionally intelligent, generous and open which makes her a real joy to play.
Now that you have almost finished rehearsals, is there anything challenging you or surprising you?
I actually think I’m most surprised by how fun the process has been, without it sounding like I was expecting it to be awful! I think we have a really talented and wonderful group of people working on this show who all get along very well and a supportive and playful rehearsal room. I feel very lucky to get to be a part of it.
How did you become interested in working in the Performing Arts? And how did your parents take it?
I’ve always been interested in pursuing a career in the Arts, coming out of high-school that was all I could really imagine myself doing. My parents have always been very supportive. My mum was a visual artist and my dad is a lawyer who had dreams of a career in theatre so he’s always encouraged me to persevere a little more than he did!
Image of Morgan Owen and Jo Morris in The Book of Life (Renegade Production). Photo By Jamie Breen
Lastly, can we expect to see you in any other work this year?
Not as of yet! I’m going to take a little time after Coma Land to pursue writing which I’ve always been interested in.