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CTC Alum Alex Morf Returns to Tackle Comedy, Levity in ‘One Man’

Alex Morf, as Francis Henshall, acts out a scene from the Chautauqua Theater Company’s dress rehersal for “One Man, Two Guvnors” on Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Bratton Theater.
MHARI SHAW/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Sitting in a lecture during his undergraduate studies, Alex Morf made the decision to stop studying altogether.

Shortly thereafter, he saw a flyer for a playwriting contest, began writing a script on a whim and ended up winning the contest.

“At that moment, I knew I needed to do something creative,” Morf said. “Theater ended up being that thing.”

Years later, the Chautauqua Theater Company alumnus has worked in shows on Broadway, acted in programs featured on Netflix and performed alongside some of the biggest names in film and television. Morf is returning to Chautauqua for the 2019 season to take on the lead role in CTC’s production of One Man, Two Guvnors.

The show is set in Brighton, England, during the 1960s, and follows a recently unemployed, comically unaware musician named Francis as he juggles two separate jobs for two different bosses — while trying to keep either one from finding out.

One Man, Two Guvnors, to be performed at 4 p.m. today in Bratton Theater, runs through Aug. 11. The show is heavily comedic, which is something Morf said he readily embraces.

“By and large recently, I’ve been playing a lot of characters who lead very heavy lives,” Morf said. “But this show is a true comedy, and it’s really fun to be a little more open-hearted and to do something that will make others laugh, and will make me laugh, too.”

Morf said he’s excited to bring the fast and funny show to Chautauquans. Life can get overwhelming and chaotic at times, Morf said, and everyone can do with a good laugh every now and then. Morf thinks One Man, Two Guvnors will give audiences that laugh.

“It’s a smorgasbord of fun,” Morf said. “There’s really a lot to love about this show.”

While the show is certainly lighter fare than CTC’s previous show, The Christians, Morf said that playing a comedic character and crafting an engaging, humorous show is no small feat. Playing a character who makes people laugh, Morf said, is tricky, but enjoyable nonetheless.

“It’s very challenging, and it’s a different kind of challenge than playing a heavier character,” Morf said. “A lot of it involves timing and precise understanding of what it takes to make people laugh. That can be hard, because I find myself laughing a lot, too; sometimes when I need to be serious.”

As excited as he is to be a part of One Man, Two Guvnors, Morf said he’s equally excited to be back at Chautauqua. Morf was part of CTC’s acting conservatory in 2006 and 2007, and said that coming back to the grounds has been a great experience.

“It feels a little bit like a homecoming,” Morf said. “I had such special times here, and I’m excited to work with (CTC Artistic Director Andrew Borba) and work here again.”

Morf said that his time at Chautauqua was influential and enjoyable. Coming back at a different time in his life, Morf said he has enjoyed observing the 2019 conservatory actors and being part of the process again.

“I met so many incredible people here and got to work with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met,” Morf said. “Coming back 12 years later as a guest artist is cool. I get to see the students now, and how talented they are, and it’s really exciting. It feels like I’ve come full-circle.”

Through working with the members of CTC’s conservatory and his fellow guest artists, Morf said he’s confident the cast and crew have produced something Chautauquans will enjoy. In his words, “the show has a lot to offer.”

“(Audience members) will get a rock concert, a comedy and a little bit of an improv show, all rolled into one,” Morf said. “I think it’ll be quite different than most anything that’s been on this stage before. It’s pretty exciting.”
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The author Duard Headley

Duard Headley is from tiny Yellow Springs, Ohio, and studies journalism and American studies at Miami University in Ohio. Coming hot off the heels of performing in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer, he is excited to cover theater at Chautauqua, merging his love for writing and theater into one experience. In his free time, he enjoys acting, reading, and staring wistfully into the distance as though he were deep in thought (He usually isn’t).

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