The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Gogerty takes on Lady Macbeth, wins

Megan Gogerty capped off the run of her one-woman show, Lady Macbeth and Her Pal Megan, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Lady Macbeth and Her Pal Megan is a one woman show by Megan Gogerty about being a woman in comedy. Her show runs from February 24- March 12, 2017 at the Riverside Theatre. (The Daily Iowan/Simone Banks-Mackey)

By Jordan Prochnow
[email protected]

When one thinks of Lady Macbeth, the ideas of death, destruction, and malice may come to mind. When one thinks of UI Lecturer and comedian Megan Gogerty, however, the self-professed “human equivalent of a golden retriever,” these same ideas probably wouldn’t come to mind.

This is what Gogerty’s newest show, Lady Macbeth and Her Pal Megan, seeks to reconsider. Her fourth full-length one-woman show revolves around being told that she would never be able to play Lady Macbeth, and she sets out to evaluate how she is seen and how ambitious women are seen throughout America. Along the way, she addresses the question of how female comedians are viewed.

“I used to get mad when people would ask what it’s like to be a female comedian, but then I realized that maybe people are asking because they really want to know,” Gogerty said. “Being a woman comedian is just like being a regular comedian, with the occasional side order of harassment and misogyny.”

Upon completion, Gogerty took the show to the stage, setting her sights on performing at festivals. First, she opened the production at Riverside Theater from Feb. 24 through March 12, then the show won an “Audience Pick” award at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

After succeeding in Cincinnati, Gogerty aimed big, heading to Scotland in the summer to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the largest festivals in the world.

RELATED: Almost Lady MacBeth, with humor

Throughout the 29 days spent in Edinburgh, Gogerty learned to adapt to various audiences. She also had to adapt to the political climate that Americans had been thrust into; the play was written before the 2016 presidential election, with unexpected results for Gogerty and the team with which she collaborated.

“The play is not explicitly about Hillary Clinton, but she haunts this play,” Gogerty said. “I wrote this thinking that she was going to win … it turns out that she did not win the presidency. I was so shocked and appalled, and the play transformed for me in the light of this revelation.”

While Gogerty is constantly rewriting, this show in particular underwent many changes. Kelly Garrett, the stage manager for the production at Riverside, said the first script she saw was likely the 19th version, and eventually, there were more than 40 versions of the script.

“I learn so much from just watching her process, because she sort of talks it out while she writes,” Garrett said. “It’s really interesting to see what changes and why.”

Gogerty’s strength in comedy, along with her energy and willingness to be open, has solidified her work and ability to relate to audiences.

“She’s pretty fearless and willing to put herself out there so that others can hear her ideas,” said Alan MacVey, a longtime friend, the chair of the Theater Department, and the director of the Performing Arts Division. “Her plays come from her own life, so she is not just telling people funny things, she is sharing her experience as a woman, wife, and mother.”

Gogerty said her passion helps her perform.

“The secret of performing this play, which I think might be the secret of doing anything well, is that I have to remember that I really love doing it,” Gogerty said. “If I go onstage with that in my heart and mind, I am unstoppable.”

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