BWW Interviews: Local Actor Lauren Noll Sets Her Sights on New York
Theater is important, Lauren Noll explained, because it’s the “only medium that we have that creates a shared experience for everyone in that room at that time. There is a bond created there that can’t be created anywhere else. It can be a force for social change. If you want to say something important, you have a unique opportunity to do so.”
When Lauren was growing up, she considered being a lawyer. Thankfully, she moved from Tennessee to Utah and completed a BFA in Acting at BYU instead. After an internship in Cincinnati, she came back to Utah to get some experience under her belt. Having recently taken her Equity card she is now ready to move on to New York City. Sadly, for our Utah audiences, we only get one more chance to see her before she sets off for her NY adventure. Make sure to check out at Salt Lake Acting Company’s Saturday’s Voyeur before it closes on September 9th.
We all have milestones in our lives and there are two that Lauren feels were particularly influential in her journey. First was a production she was cast in several years ago, Hair which played at The Egyptian Theater in Park City. When she moved back to Utah, she knew the group of actors that she wanted to surround herself with and this casting made it possible. She feels that Hair really jumpstarted everything. “We shared something special. The director, Jerry (Rapier) is somebody you have to trust. He knows exactly what he wants and how to get there. He brought that focus to Hair and it was amazing.”
Her next “jewel” was the Glass Menagerie at The Grand Theatre. I can tell you that Menagerie was certainly the production that made Lauren stand out for me. She was remarkable. Lauren had previously played Laura (the lead character in Menagerie) in high school so it was a wonderful opportunity to return to her roots. In speaking about her work with Glass Menagerie, she mentioned that director “Mark (Fossen) is by far my favorite director that I’ve worked for here. He really helped me find out what I could do.”
When asked what she does in the theater in one sentence she offered a disclaimer advising me that she couldn’t possibly answer any question in just one sentence. “At some point it comes down to making a living. I understand that sometimes people feel that they have to sacrifice ‘artistic integrity’ in doing so. I know I have to make a living but when I look back at the end of it all I want to know that I did good work, that it was important and that it made an impact in the lives of the people who experienced it.” She paused here and added with laughter, “I am so not concise at all.” She continued, “ I want to do work that’s good. Whether it’s Broadway or a 70 seat house, I want to do work that matters and do enough of it to make a living.”
Her advice for others who want to do what she does; “The odds can be overwhelming. There are a lot of people doing this, especially in New York and LA. It can become easy to become jaded and lost in the numbers. The world is still so small – make those small connections. When I get to New York, I don’t know if I’ll get in the right audition room in the next couple months or the next few years. But I do know that I’ll keep going into the rooms. I’m not better than anyone else who is trying to do this; I just know that this is what I’m going to do.
From A Theater Lover to another:
Megan “What is your favorite Play?”
Lauren: “Glass Menagerie because of my personal experience with it.”
Megan “What is your favorite musical?”
Lauren: “Sunday in the Park with George. Sondheim is brilliant and sometimes you listen to it and don’t even realize how brilliant he is in the moment, and it hits you the next day or the next year.”
Megan: “If you were one musical or play, which one would you be and why?”
Lauren: “Jane Eyre, not the musical but a production from the Shared Experience Theater Company because it was collaborative and very physical. It gave physical life to the unspoken word or emotional undercurrent so you saw what was happening internally. It was a very brave and intuitive piece of art.“
Megan: “Any parting advice or thoughts?”
Lauren “It’s so easy to feel stuck. You hear people complain about being in Utah. One thing I’ve realized since I’ve been here is that this state and especially SL is thriving with artistic talent and diversity. If you haven’t already, open your eyes, it’s thriving – get on board!”