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Performers Of The Month - June Winner: Outstanding Actress – Dominique Provost-Chalkley



This article is a collaboration from SpoilerTV writers: Aimee Hicks (article lead), Luana Arturi (contributor), Kollin Lore (contributor), DJRiter (editor), and Zandarl (contributor).

Performers often say that playing evil is more fun than playing good. Portraying an evil character allows them to do things that they, as a real person, never would. Evil characters are either evil beyond redemption or evil with a redemption arc. What is less common is for a performer who plays a good, kind character to have to portray their character as evil. Add in the extra element of having to jockey between good and evil and that adds an unprecedented level of difficulty. That is the exact task that June's Most Outstanding Actress, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, had to contend with at the start of this season of Wynonna Earp. Not only was she up to the challenge, but she delivered near flawless acting that allowed the audience to witness the intense battle raging inside of Waverly for control of her soul. Provost-Chalkley was mesmerizing as she gave life to this extreme struggle, allowing the light or dark to shine through as needed. The acting of these scenes required a tremendous amount of performance control. Had she over or under acted any given moment the whole tone of the story arc could have been lost. She had to find the perfect balance and maintain it throughout all these episodes. Not only did she accomplish that, but she far exceeded expectations as she cruised through these scenes with ease while spectacularly selling the struggle going on inside Waverly.

Some of the biggest examples of the struggle came in scenes between Waverly and Nicole (Katherine Barrell). It's evident that Nicole is Waverly's anchor throughout this whole possession, perhaps even more than Wynonna. It is in Nicole that Waverly is able to find some level of control from the evil that has invaded her. One scene in particular, at the end of Shed Your Skin (2x2), when Nicole shows up at the homestead, shows the struggle going on within Waverly. The divide between the Waverly the audience knows and the demon possessor is a very thin line. When Nicole enters the room, Waverly is clearly zoned out and even without the demonic eyes, it's pretty obvious that the demon is at the forefront of Waverly's consciousness. Then Nicole enters and some strength within Waverly jumps to the forefront and nabs control away. The message is clear, no one is going to be with her girl except her, not even a demon possessing her body. Now, to be fair, there are moments where the demon seems to slip in, but Waverly puts up a hell of a fight to be able to be present in that moment with Nicole. The acting done by Dominique Provost-Chalkley in this entire sequence was exceptional. There was this push and pull that required these brilliantly subtle, but still obvious, shifts within the character. Most performers who have to make these mid-scene shifts have clear markers on where to shift tones, but because of the nature of the possession storyline, she was often required to make these shifts mid-sentence. Any shift mid-scene is a challenge, but to do it repeatedly and not stumble up the delivery is awe-inspiring. There is a shyness to real Waverly that possessed Waverly lacks and it's in those shyer moments that real Waverly was clearly there staring into the eyes of the woman she cares so deeply about.

She has an incredible chemistry with Katherine Barrell that serves both their characters so well. They've taken the time to build up a strong friendship which allows them to bring such amazing chemistry to their characters. Provost-Chalkley was only free to be as open in her performances because she trusted Barrell to be on point to perfectly react to everything she was doing. Had these two not been able to trust each other, the relationship between their characters would have been over long before it started. They both play pivotal parts in this pairing and it's because of one another that every intimate and emotional scene always hits right on point. Their trust in one another gives them the freedom to go wherever the script requires and portray whatever it asks of them. This scene was an intimate one, something they've done several times before, but there was that added element of Provost-Chalkley having to convey the war raging within Waverly while still portraying the love between the characters. The scene itself was heavily choreographed, as all of these intimate scenes are, but the extra added elements like the actresses maintaining eye contact are what they bring to the scene that ramps it up from two characters making out to a couple expressing their love. Their connection makes these intimate moments between Waverly and Nicole come across on screen as love and not just two characters hooking up to appease the audience. These moments feel earned and poignant because of everything from the genius writers to the actresses ensuring every lead-up moment hits spot on in order for these moments to connect. The kissing is soft and the touches respectful, but just intimate enough to convey the off-screen sexy times that the writers want the audience to imagine are happening when the scene cuts away. It takes a huge amount of trust to be vulnerable with another person and the fact these two are so open with each really helps highlight these moments and give them so much weight.

Provost-Chalkley is a very generous actress, even if her character is supposed to be at the forefront of the moment, she's always giving so much to her co-stars. In fact, that can be said of this entire cast, they are all there for each other in every scene, but she always seems to take it up an extra level. She has immense chemistry with everyone on the cast and knows how to differentiate Waverly's chemistry from intimate with Nicole to friendly with Dolls (Shamier Anderson) and Doc (Tim Rozon) to sisterly with Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano). It's that last one that really sold the series to the audience in the first place. It was the powerful sisterly bond that Scrofano and Provost-Chalkley brought in the pilot that immediately made the audience perk up and take notice. It is a sibling relationship like television doesn't get to experience nearly enough and seems to add to a welcome trend of strong sibling relationships in newer shows. They set a very clear rhythm for their characters last season and while that was still firmly in place this season, there was a clear strain. Scrofano had to play as usual while allowing Wynonna to occasional pick up on some of the discrepancies in Waverly's personality. Provost-Chalkley, on the other hand, had to play the relationship with the divide between regular Waverly and possessed Waverly. Much as with scenes with Barrell, she relied on her bond with Scrofano to sell many of the moments early on this season.

In Gonna Getcha Good (2x3) there was a nice sisterly scene at the end where Wynonna checks in with Waverly concerning what has been going on as well as what is up with her and Nicole. The scene is played like a million other awesome Earp sister scenes, except this one felt off. Not in a bad way, not at all, in fact, that feeling aided the scene. There was a slight disconnect between the characters that even Wynonna seemed to pick up on. Waverly was all smiles and even called Nicole her "best baby" in a very Waverly-esk moment. All seemed normal on the surface, but it's what Provost-Chalkley played under the surface that gave this moment its odd feeling. She had a smile on her face, but this distant almost glazed over look in her eyes. It was actually quite spooky how she moved between portraying all this with such ease. By the time the end of the scene came and possessed Waverly was out on full display the creep factor was already quite high. Some moments it felt like the real Waverly was in control, but moments like this, when Waverly was all alone, were enough to give one chills. It's because the show and actress have put so much time into building up sweet innocent Waverly that this cold and dark Waverly just felt all kinds of wrong. Major respect to Dominique Provost-Chalkley for being able to have a smile on her face while displaying the coldest creepiest stare in her eyes that could cause even the steadiest of views to shiver.

Another prime example of this is in the scene where Waverly chokes Tucker. She shows her usual self, even if a little sassier, being startled by Tucker, as he tries unsuccessfully to flatter her. When she tells him Nicole is her girlfriend, he says it's impossible because that would be wrong. This is the moment Waverly loses control, her eyes go full on demon and she chokes him, lifting this much bigger guy a few feet from the floor. Not only was this scene a lot of fun, mainly because Tucker was an ass, and even worse a homophobic ass, but it also showed how much she cares about Nicole, so much that she even stopped being in control of her temper. We figured out later on, those were the moments when IT took over. This particular moment allowed Provost-Chalkley to go instantly from her beautifully light and fun Waverly to the dark side in a matter of seconds, showing just how effortless she makes it all seem.

The eeriness of possessed Waverly only continued to grow. As the June episodes wore on, Waverly clearly lost control more and more often, until it finally came to the point where the audience had to say goodbye to the sweet, innocent Waverly as we see a glimpse of her in full on possessed mode in the scene between her and Dolls that concluded Gonna Getcha Good. It was a delightfully frightening moment as she hummed to herself and giggled and ran her hands through her hair – all those little subtleties that made Waverly completely unrecognizable. We got another display of that earlier in the episode when her demon half's strange and very macabre appetite appeared, and it didn't even have very good taste given that the lipstick wasn't even cherry flavored. It was an interesting touch, though, that later in the same episode it's shown that Waverly doesn't remember things that happen when her demonic side takes over. That would come into play, very importantly, later after she has been rid of the demon and reveals that her times with Nicole were some of the very few that she actually remembered.

There were many great moments of the back and forth between regular Waverly and possessed Waverly that showed off Provost-Chalkley's immense talent. One scene, in particular, occurred in Shed Your Skin where Waverly and Wynonna are talking while trying to figure out what is in the cocoon. It's one of those overlooked scenes that don't seem much on the surface but is actually very important to the show. Both Wynonna and Waverly don't go into too much depth with regards to what they are talking about. In particular, Provost-Chalkley did a great job of switching her emotions from the supportive Waverly, telling Wynonna to stay positive about Doc, to the forlorn Waverly as Wynonna brings up Haught and her cold shouldering, to the flat out wacky Waverly as she and Wynonna get the scare of their life as the spider comes out of the cocoon.

The entire first arc of this season was about the demon inside of Waverly. The placed a lot of weight on Dominique Provost-Chalkley's shoulders, and she dominated every single scene. There were a ton of great moments from the premiere episode of the season, but the demonic possession storyline really kicked into high gear during the second allowing for the spooky factor to really begin to surge. One of the first truly disturbing moments was when Waverly was showing Nicole, Willa's old journal. In this scene, you can see how lost Waverly feels, she knows Willa never accepted her as she knew she wasn't an Earp. Nicole shows her love for Waverly and we get one of the sweetest scenes between the two as things were a little frosty after the events of the season two premiere. There was a look in Waverly's eyes that's quite obviously coming from her demonic possession and you know if Willa was still around she wouldn't be for much longer after the book was read.

It wasn't all creepy though, the demon did have a side that craved fun. Those moments seemed to be the most fun for Provost-Chalkley to portray. One prime example occurred in Gonna Getcha Good when Waverly was with Nicole at the school wearing her little cheerleader outfit. Every fan of Nicole and Waverly was picking themselves off the floor at the dancing skills of Provost-Chalkley and wishing they were Nicole. It gave off Buffy and The L Word vibes all rolled into one fun couple on a show that really knows how to write fun scenes with complex undertones. This wasn't just a fun scene for the sake of a fun scene, but one to highlight everything that was going on with Waverly at the time. This clearly wasn't the Waverly we all know and love yet it was still fun to watch the character go a little off the rails as the possession storyline progressed. The shift from sweet Waverly to demonic in these first few episodes has been a joy to watch and Provost-Chalkley gave everyone chills thanks to her incredible acting prowess.

The mass majority of the first part of this season centered around Waverly. Dominique Provost-Chalkley not only excelled, but she blew fan expectations out of the water. No one could have possibly imagined what she was capable of. Everyone knew she was talented and immensely skilled at her craft, but what she has done has been phenomenal. There were so many terrific scenes in June that it was just impossible to cover them all in this one article. Please, feel free to use the comments section to discuss all the amazing scenes we couldn't get to in this article.

PLEASE READ: Please keep comments on topic and just discussing the performances of the winner.

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