Theater Professor performs in Marin Theater Company's first live production in 20 months

November 23, 2021
Laura Odeh

Acting, Movement, and Speech faculty, Laura Odeh is in The Marin Theatre Company's world premiere of Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley, which will also be the first in-person performance held in 20 months. 

Read a brief interview with Laura below:

Can you tell us a bit about your experience with this production?

My experience with this production dates back to the World Premiere of the first play of the "Christmas at Pemberley" trilogy, "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley."  Working on a new play is always an interesting experience.  It can be a wonderful collaborative experience in which the actors, playwright and director work together and are open to constructive feedback, suggestions, and solutions for moments that don't seem to work...  Both the first play and now working on the World Premiere of the third installment has been that wonderful collaborative experience.  Lauren Gunderson is a marvel and Margot Melcon is a wealth of detailed information about this particular world.  The greatest gift, however, has been the opportunity to work with Meredith McDonough (the director) again.  After years of plays and directors, there have been a small handful that I would drop everything for to work with again - and Meredith is one of them.  

What do you love about acting?

Piggy backing off of the last question, I love the exploration that occurs when you have a special connection with a particular director.  It's like dumping tiny pieces of a 2000 piece puzzle onto the floor and working together to put the puzzle together.  I love that search.  I love looking for the pieces and trying to put the puzzle together.  Also, and I think any of my students who have had scene study with me will understand this immediately, it allows me to link into that world of play and imagination that you sort of lose as you grow up.  Acting is playing with the same joy and abandon and lack of self-consciousness that you did as a 6 year old.  There is no wrong or right - there is only playing and finding what works and what doesn't and creating a story.  There is a part of me that feels most connected to my true self when I am in a rehearsal room getting to play with my friends.  And this cast is truly a wonderful group of friends!  

How do you balance the roles of being a performer and an educator?

I think it's so important to stay engaged in the subject you teach.  All of the areas of study - voice, speech, movement, scene study - if I can't continue to exercise and experience using these muscles and connecting to my love of Acting, I don't think I would feel that I could truly teach.  Being able to create as an artist allows me to connect to my students in an authentic way.  I'm not just someone talking about it.  I'm just someone who is relying on the memory of what I experienced at one point.  I am an actor.  I am using the tools and techniques that I am teaching.  The craft remains alive and active for me, and I believe that it bleeds into teaching with that same energy.  It is my hope that the students feel a level of trust in what I teach because they know that I am speaking from a place of being an actor versus having been an actor.  I am fortunate to have an amazing Department Chair, Christine Cali, who is incredibly supportive and in agreement as to how important it is to remain an active creative artist.  In terms of balancing the schedules, it is Christine's willingness to work to find a way that gives me the ability to still give to the students.