“Our Town’s” Lauren Modica
The Our Town cast features Broadway vets, local favorites and new talent to our stage. We recently sat down with Our Town cast member and Portland native Lauren Modica (pictured center or sixth in from the right)— most recently seen on the PCS stage for two the last two holiday seasons in Twist Your Dickens — about growing up in Portland, rehearsing with blindfolds and what Our Town means to her.
Where is your home town?
I was born and raised and lucky enough to still be living in Portland, Oregon. I'm biased, but this City is such a beautiful, warm, clean and inspiring place to live and work, and I can't imagine loving my life as much anywhere else, with a few exceptions. Plus, the tap water is delicious.
What is your favorite part about performing in Our Town?
Probably the beautiful people I'm surrounded by. There's a lot of tender vulnerability around, when you do a show with this subject matter (Life, Love, Death, Doubt, etc) and I know I feel it, personally. You can't help but sort of have a 'This Is Your Life' montage, especially during the third act, and the cast, production team, Rose, and crew take such solid hold of steering us where we need to go, while allowing breath and emotion to find their way through and around us. Forming such a tightly knotted bond like the one worked on in rehearsal means, I feel, that we all feel like we have a hand on the hull of this ship -- everyone plays a part, and everyone takes pride in getting ship-shape. I'll stop with the metaphors, because nobody needs to deal with that much nautical imagery.
What makes this production different from any other productions you’ve seen or been in?
The confidence. I don't want to spoil anything, because that would be hideous. But I've wanted to work with Rose for a long time, and that was amplified after watching A Life at JAW 2014. What she did (I won't ruin the surprise, but if you saw it you know) was so confident, and such a 'Drop the Mic' moment that when I found out I was a part of Our Town, I was most looking forward to seeing what she did with it -- how she was going to interpret what we know of this story, how to turn 'Maple Syrup-scented Nostalgia' on its ear. Like I just wanted to watch and be thrilled. And I get to 'Do It' and be thrilled!
What have rehearsals been like?
Tactile. Physicality and movement and release of self-conscious thoughts. You get out of your head and into your body. I don't want to reveal too much, because I don't know if I'm allowed, but we did exercises that joined us together as an ensemble and made us work to 'find' that ensemble. Blindfolds showed up. That's all I'm going to say.
Why is Our Town still important today?
We all come Home. Whether or not 'Home' welcomes us as it did, or as we were expecting it to is another story. And one of the most heartbreaking things about Our Town, reading it as a woman instead of a teenage girl, is the yearning to have everything just as we left it. I've lived in Portland my whole life, and there are still times when I yearn for it to be the Portland I explored at 9, 15, 21. I want to see the people I knew then, I want to know only what I knew then, and nothing of what came after.
I am stoked, just really excited to show our Grover's Corners off to Portland. Hopefully we haunt you, in the best way, and you find yourself a little homesick for us.
Lauren Modica (Woman in Balcony and others) is beyond excited to be returning to PCS after two (soon to be three!) seasons of making mischief as Mrs. Cratchitt in Twist Your Dickens, and JAW 2014 (Promising Playwrights). Area work includes Ruth in the West Coast premiere of In The Forest She Grew Fangs and Jessica in the world premiere of Undiscovered Country (Defunkt Theatre), The Fool in King Lear (Northwest Classical Theatre Collaborative), Tituba in The Crucible (Theatre Vertigo/Anonymous Theatre), Rose in Gretchen Icenogle’s Trailing Colors and Agnes in Silence(Jakers Productions), Verges in Much Ado About Nothing (Willamette Shakespeare), Queen/Belarius in Cymbeline (Portland Actors Ensemble) and others. Gratitude to Rose, KL, Brandon, cast/crew, and all of the incredible people at PCS who make it such a killer place to play. Love to all who have her heart. G$.
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