In Conversation With: Kaitlyn Rogers of ‘Can I Get An Amen?!’

One of our highlights at Tulpa from the latest Fringe was Can I Get an Amen?! by Kaitlyn Rogers. The Fringe is over and Kaitlyn’s already at the Melbourne Comedy Festival to take her show to another audience. We decided to get in contact with her to find out more about what went into making the show, what her experiences of the Fringe were, and what’s next.


Considering the nature of the show, our first question was:  Do you intend to have the audience leave the show with any particular thought/feeling in mind?


I hope that the audience leaves feeling empowered, uplifted and compelled to question, discuss and challenge the world around them.

Once we leave childhood we are conditioned to behave in a very specific way. We’re forced into a way of life that defines success through materials and money. We forget and deny ourselves the pleasure of play. We forget to celebrate the little things. I don’t think that breeds genuine happiness. I can only speak from my own experiences and beliefs but that’s why I created this show. I invite the audience to question the “perfect” society in which we live in. Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Or do some things need to change? And if so, how?

Therefore, in the short time I have with the audience I invite them into a world where it is safe to play, nothing is wrong, any offer, gesture, opinion is valid.


Tulpa: How scripted, or alternatively spontaneous, is your performance? How much do you let the audience direct where you go with the performance?


Everything is determined by the audience. The “script” remains the same – although how exactly it is played is a reaction to the audience.

Originally, Can I Get An Amen?! was devised through improvisation. I would spend hours in a room by myself trying to make myself laugh. The things that I found funny would make it into the script. However, Can I Get An Amen?! has changed dramatically over this past year and I have the audience to thank for that. In Edinburgh, it was a late-night comedy party show. At Melbourne Fringe, I delved deeper into what I think are important questions.

As I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve found that there are more issues that I want to discuss. I’ve developed my own method to the madness. I am very aware of where the show begins and where I need the audience to be by the end however the character I play is discovering these things in the moment, that’s the challenge. It’s always risky because every night is different with a different audience. However, the heart of the show has been very carefully crafted, I believe that the audience wants to hear it and therefore we always reach that point.


But the show had more to it than its humour. We felt compelled to ask: The serious moments of the show were powerful and emotionally arresting – how do you ensure this works as it does?

The serious moments of the show have happened organically as a reaction to the current times we’re living in right now. Times up.

When that part of the show started to emerge it was completely improvised in the moment and was extremely emotional and powerful. I’m always nervous and apprehensive of that part of the show

because I’m always scared whether the audience will let me go there emotionally. However I believe that part is the heart and core of the show, and over time I’ve been able to carefully craft moments in order to reach a point where I can safely facilitate a discussion with a central question that I’m very passionate about.

The serious moment is also my story; my truth. It’s where the comedy ends and the real me is exposed. And I think that’s what hits home with the audience.


Tulpa: Why did you choose the shows/music you chose for the show?


It all relates to the central theme of sass. When I first started devising the show I would play music, improvise and then write a script. Music plays a huge part because I wanted all the music to be from a specific time period (90s) and feel sassy and funky. Mostly I wanted it to make people feel like they wanted to dance and create a party vibe.


Finally, across all her Fringe shows and experiences, we asked: How did you find the experience of mounting a Fringe show? Were there any things you didn’t expect?


It’s been the most incredible, challenging, wonderful, hardest and best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I love and sometimes loathe the fringe. Part of me wants to ride the fringe forever in any capacity I can and another part of me wants to run away and live in a forest. It’s like Beyonce and Sasha Fierce.

I performed Can I Get An Amen?! for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year. My first solo show. My first comedy show. My first self-produced show at the biggest arts festival in the entire world. So, I’ve learnt a lot.

Most importantly: work hard and don’t be an arsehole (apologies). I’ve learnt that each festival is different and must be tackled in a different way. But the greatest thing is making great mates with artists, technicians, venue managers, front of house, bar staff, and the audience. I wouldn’t be here without the support of the friends I’ve made.


Questions by Liam McNally

Thanks to Kaitlyn Rogers and Mitchell McKay.


Can I Get An Amen?!

Firstly, I should say that Can I Get An Amen?! hits upon cultural touchstones I don’t have any background in. I’ve never seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, I’m not particularly familiar with the work of Whoopi Goldberg. It could easily be a case of a good show with the wrong audience member – but not so here. Despite my lack of familiarity with some of the reference material, the show is still a boisterous tour-de-force of ‘sassiness’ and individual strength.

Funny, heartening, and filled with humour that adopts some of the more absurd elements of ritual and religion to great power, this show is extremely funny and thoughtful. Most importantly, it is like nothing you have ever seen before. Led in an odd kind of sermon with a sacred text provided by Whoopi Goldberg, it’s quickly clear you’re in for something unique.

As the elements of ritual and comedy fall to the side to reveal the true heart of the show, the audience was rendered silent. There was a moment of rare truth and stunning honesty that silenced the crowd and drew us all in emotionally.

After all the religious-styled ritual and absurdity, here in this moment we had found what all the previous humour alluded to. The truth of living honestly, being your best self. In that moment I felt myself an unprepared witness for something intense, true, and changing.

All this is not to say the show does not succeed intensely in its comedic goals – it truly does – but there is something extra to it. Something that makes people consider themselves and the world around them. Thought-provoking comedy at its very best, this is one of the truly great highlights of an already excellent Fringe. There’s a lot to be discussed here; a lot to be unpacked, but I would rather not spoil it and leave others to have the surprising and deep experience this show offers.

Kaitlyn Rogers, performer of Can I Get An Amen?! shows an incredible range and depth of talent in this one hour show. To cover as much as her show does with as much success as this, is stunning.

This is comedy for the strong of heart – and, it must be said – liver.


Words by Liam McNally

5 stars.

Can I Get An Amen?! is playing at RAJOPOLIS at Raj House until March 18. Tickets available here.