The comedy show 'What's Wrong With Me?' diagnoses the ills of the world and uses laughter as its best medicine. We spoke to the show's Director, KATIE DUGGAN, about how the show has been brought together.
What do you want the audience to feel watching 'What's Wrong with Me?'
First and foremost, we want the audience to laugh! We hope to allow the audience to escape their everyday lives for an hour and immerse themselves in these wacky sketches about doctors, diagnoses, and the myriad ills facing us human beings. This show grew out of a desire to show that this constant feeling of “What’s wrong with me,” questioning ourselves and wondering if we’re doing it all right, is a shared experience – and something we can very much find humor in!
I hope for the audience to have a healthy helping of laughter to soothe their souls and reassure them that everything’s okay—or it’s okay not to be okay. This show aims to tackle everything from bizarre ailments to big ideas like the human condition (pun intended) – and our sketches will hopefully shed some light on the immense silliness that is life.
How do you approach directing a comedy show?
In a comedy show, and in particular a sketch show, there are lots of distinct pieces and moving parts to keep track of, from selecting the assortment of sketches to include so that they fit together into some semblance of a cohesive whole, to balancing the dynamics of different performers, to maintaining a consistently high energy.
For me, directing a comedy show sometimes feels a bit like juggling, when I don’t quite know how to juggle properly – but rather than striving for technical perfection, I aim to entertain and put on an act that is fun to watch. My background in comedy has mostly been as a writer, working to devise material and write sketches in close collaboration with others, so my work as a director has been very much informed by this collaborative approach.
I’ve also approached my directing work as really beginning in the writing process—constantly giving feedback to our writer-performers as they start to develop characters or recurring bits. I try to tailor my direction to the styles of our immensely talented writer-performers, and give them freedom to experiment, trusting in their abilities to showcase their own style and their areas where they most shine. I’ve also been really relying on my fabulous team of assistant directors to give me a helping hand and make this juggling act a little easier to pull off.
How has the show been changing during the writing and rehearsal process?
One thing that’s been really exciting about the development process is how the show has evolved since its initial concept. We began with the medical theme and idea of diagnosis to inspire the sketches, but the writers have really taken the question of “what’s wrong with me” in a million different directions – so don’t worry about getting sick of it, not every sketch is going to take place in a doctor’s office! We’ve written sketches exploring everything from awkward romantic encounters and lies spiraling out of control to demonic possessions – it’s really a whole assortment of maladies.
Without spoiling too much, does your show offer a definitive answer to the question “What’s Wrong With Me?”
One of my favorite aspects of the show is how we provide a million potential answers to the title question. Underneath all the zany comedy, we examine our shared insecurities, and all the design flaws of the human mind and body, and engage in a collective hunt to figure out what the hell is going on and why we’re all so weird. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with us. Maybe there are a lot of things wrong with us. But you’d best come to our show to get a second opinion!