Ready, Set, Improv!
Ohio Wesleyan Student Studies Comedy in Big Apple, Creates OWU Show
By Aleksei Pavloff ’18
Live from New York, it’s Ohio Wesleyan University senior Hannah Wargo!
Wargo, a double major in theatre and politics and government, spent the summer studying improvisational comedy with two Big Apple-based sketch comedy groups and recently capped off her experience by writing and performing her own campus show, “Yikes!!! on Ice!”
“It was a dream,” Wargo says of living and working in New York City. “It was so energizing to finally feel like my future is within my reach.”
A resident of Medina, Ohio, Wargo earned an OWU Connection grant to support her studies with the Upright Citizens Brigade and Peoples Improv Theater. Without the University-funded grant, she says, she would not have been able to afford the experience.
“I knew I had to take advantage of The OWU Connection and argue (in my grant application) why this experience was necessary for me as a theatre student and how it would benefit my future,” she says.
In New York, Wargo took two classes and completed volunteer work. One class required her to go out and see several shows per week.
Wargo’s favorite moment was working for the Upright Citizens Brigade at its annual Del Close Marathon – billed as the largest improv festival in the world. She served as a stage manager for one of the festival’s venues and was able to attend live performances.
“I got to see some of my favorite comedic actors perform, and I even got to see Amy Poehler perform, and she and other comedy professionals were at the after-party, too,” Wargo says.
After returning to Ohio Wesleyan this fall, Wargo took what she learned in New York and created her own sketch-comedy ensemble show. “Yikes!!! on Ice!” was performed Nov. 30 in OWU’s Chappelear Drama Center.
“It felt great to show the audience my work and see how they reacted,” Wargo says. “I was also so excited to see my cast perform in front of an audience.”
After graduation, Wargo hopes to move back to New York to continue studying improv and sketch comedy. Using her politics and government major, she also hopes to work in politics while taking comedy classes on the side.
For now, though, the Ohio Wesleyan legacy student is looking forward to becoming an OWU graduate.
“Two of my older brothers actually came to OWU, so it seemed at first like the obvious choice I wanted to avoid,” she says. “However, as deadlines came closer, OWU made me feel special as an individual and made me feel wanted, unlike the Ivy Leagues I was trying to prove myself to.”