Posting Date: February 2, 2010
Meet Lauren Roden: Actor and scholar
By Tabatha Wahlquist
Photo by Linda Tincher
Senior Lauren Roden was in for a surprise when she began taking classes in the Theatre and Performance Studies program at Kennesaw State University. She objected to the program at first when she discovered it did not focus exclusively on acting. With dreams of becoming a Broadway star, Lauren expected to dive right in. She didn’t realize that the program emphasizes academics just as much as the craft itself—a mission that the acting student would later appreciate.
Lauren was a dancer for 13 years before deciding to go in a different direction. After participating in a high school production during her junior year, she realized she wanted to act. After high school graduation, she worked a series of jobs in order to save money for an acting conservatory in New York. When plans failed, Lauren stayed in Atlanta to study law. However, she came to the realization early into the program that law school was not for her. Her heart was still set on becoming an actor.
“What I love most about the TPS program at KSU is that it is a scholar-based program,” says Lauren. “The professors encourage me to be a well-rounded artist—a thinker and a doer.” As a result of the training Lauren has received at KSU, she has been inspired to become a teacher herself. She realizes now that there are other things she can do with her talent. “I have learned that there is so much more to acting. I can use art to evoke social change and to uplift a community.”
Lauren played supporting roles in both “Lysistrata” and “The Comedy of Errors.” As she recalls, “This opportunity boosted my confidence and was a huge part of my learning experience.” Lauren credits the late Lucille Ball as her major source of inspiration. She praises Ball for her pure talent and ability to bring life to any stage. Lauren also admires Assistant Professor Harrison Long. “He is highly influential in what it means to act and communicate in the most powerful way,” says Lauren.
Lauren has made an impression on her professors as well. Long says, “Lauren is one of the most disciplined students I've worked with. She's the kind that travels the third or fourth mile. That's a great thing in acting when we're trying to do the impossible—that is, to recreate actual human life on stage.” He also credits Lauren for having a wide range of capabilities when it comes to her acting. “She's got emotional depth. When you put it all together—discipline, intelligence, a wacky sense of humor and emotional sensitivity—you've got the makings of a powerful performance.”
When Lauren is not hard at work on the stage or in the classroom, she enjoys a variety of hobbies. She loves reading books and writing—particularly songwriting. She still continues to dance, dabbling in ballet and jazz. She also participates actively in the New Works and Ideas Festival hosted by KSU Underground, a student-based organization of writers.
After graduation, Lauren would like to stay in the Atlanta area while she prepares to audition for graduate school. She wants to pursue graduate studies in Chicago or New York, and in addition to continuing acting, Lauren wants to study playwriting and teach acting.