By Chris Putnam
It happened so fast, Cheyenna Sapp can still hardly believe it.
“Everybody is really excited and happy for me. They're all wanting to see the show. I come from a family of pretty funny people, so they love comedy,” said Sapp.
The University of Saskatchewan (USask) student will have her national television debut on Monday, Oct. 17, when the new sitcom Acting Good premieres on CTV Comedy Channel.
Sapp, a Cree comedian and actor from Little Pine First Nation, Sask., was cast earlier this year in a major role in the new series. She plays Rose, the on-again-off-again girlfriend of lead character Paul.
“(Rose) is romantic, quirky. She loves drama—to create drama and be immersed in it,” Sapp said.
Sapp is an undergraduate student in the Indigenous studies and wîcêhtowin theatre programs in USask’s College of Arts and Science. In November, she will play the role of John A. Macdonald in the Greystone Theatre stage production of Drew Hayden Taylor’s play Sir John A.
Sapp hasn’t done much previous acting. She started taking drama classes at USask to help with her stand-up comedy delivery.
“I have anxiety problems, and I had really, really bad stage fright as a kid, so I never ever thought in the future I would be on stages again somewhere,” she said.
The wîcêhtowin Theatre Program is a certificate program that offers training in performance, playwriting and theatre design to emerging Indigenous theatre artists.
Sapp’s acting training has paid off. Acting Good was filmed in Manitoba this spring, and “being on set was a really amazing experience,” Sapp said.
“It was a really good vibe on set. There's a lot of jokes and funny gags that we did. One of the best feelings is when the director yells ‘Cut!’ and everybody bursts out laughing because they've been holding in their laughter throughout the whole scene.”
Acting Good was created by Anishinaabe comedian Paul Rabliauskas, who also stars in the show. Loosely based on Rabliauskas’s life, it’s the story of a comic who returns home to a remote First Nation after failing to make it in the big city.
Even before being cast, Sapp was a fan of many of the people involved in the show, including Rabliauskas, director Michael Greyeyes and actor Tina Keeper.
“There’s a lot of really talented people working on it,” she said.
Sapp hopes the show will be renewed for a second season, but for now she is focused on her studies at USask. She expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous studies and a wîcêhtowin theatre certificate in the spring.
Sapp is excited to see the first full episode of Acting Good on Monday night along with everyone else.
“It’s going to be really, really funny. I've seen little clips of it, and from what I've seen, it's hilarious,” she said.