By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN Lauren Vlach is just like many other fifth grade girls who enjoy time with friends and playing with their American Girl Dolls, but unlike many of her classmates, Lauren has taken center stage in St. Paul.
Since the young age of 6, she has had a desire to be on stage. With two plays under her belt, “Robin Hood,” and “The Sound of Music,” Lauren knew she wanted to continue acting.
“I saw an audition listed in the Star Tribune,” said Lauren’s mother Jennifer Vlach. “She wanted to do it right away.”
What she wanted to do was audition for Torch Theatre’s production of “The Miracle Worker,” a play at the History Theatre about the remarkable life and education of Helen Keller.
Lauren was chosen as the understudy for Helen Keller, a part she is very proud of. As the understudy, she will appear in two showings of the play, and also be available if she is needed to take over for the other young actress playing the part.
“She learned the part by going to rehearsals and watching,” said Jennifer Vlach. “She really only had about six hours of stage time to practice just three days before the show. The night before the play was the only time she worked with the whole cast. I feel being the understudy with limited rehearsals is more difficult.”
Lauren performed Jan. 29 and Feb. 12. Before she took the stage, nerves almost got the best of her.
“I was a nervous wreck,” said Lauren Vlach. “My stomach hurt and everything, but the second I walked on stage, I was fine.”
There may have been no speaking lines to learn, but the character is still challenging. While pretending to be deaf and blind, Lauren had to also throw some outrageous temper tantrums.
“It’s wild,” smiled Lauren. “I get to have this really big food fight, grunt, groan, moan, even crawl under and over a table.”
Lauren feels fortunate for the ability to work with a great cast full of talented and caring people. The play stars Stacia Rice, a well-known Twin Cities actress, who offered Lauren some wonderful advice.
“She told me in order to be good on stage, you have to be nervous and excited.”
When she isn’t on stage, she enjoys many things such as being in dance, playing the piano, being with friends, and playing with her dog Cola.
Lauren lives in Delano with her mother, Jennifer, who is a therapist for Park Nicollet Mental Health; her father, Brian, who is a water quality specialist for Three Rivers Parks District; and her seven-year-old sister Cameron.
While she admits she would be in as many plays as she could, she also has another passion being a designer.
“She watches all those home design shows,” said Jennifer. “She can tell what year my lighting is from, what type of flooring we should have, and knows more about design than I do. Someday she hopes to have her own clothing and furniture lines.”