To describe Lyssa Hoganson, junior GCSU Theatre and English major, a modern Renaissance woman would be an understatement. She dexterously commands the attention of a packed theatre, and a packed classroom, admirably balancing her intellectual life with that of her characters. She likes to think of herself as a housecat, warm and comforting, with the deep set ambition to be a ferocious lion. She enjoys poetry of all forms, from the multifaceted world of William Shakespeare to the deceptive simplicity of e.e. cummings, and she even writes her own poetry. However, her first love will always be theatre.
Her interest in performance started super early in fourth grade she played a munchkin Wizard of Oz “It was literally every child in that city was somehow involved with that show.” But her true passion for performance didn’t begin until later on in Middle School when she joined a summer youth theatre camp. “I’ve always loved to read aloud, I think when I connected the two things, and explored the idea that instead of just reading the words, being able to take words on a page and say them, that that’s when I really fell in love with it.”
Choosing a favorite role is often like choosing a favorite child for an actor. “I feel like some roles were important at that point in my life that I played them and some other one will take its place because the next one is more important.” When asked about a play or role that is near and dear to her heart, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is never far from Hoganson’s mind. Her most memorable role in high school was one that surprised her, Mercutio. “I never thought I’d be able to play him, because it is a male role. But they asked me what I’d like to play and I told them, and they said why not; it was a dream come true, no matter how bad the show was.” She will actually be directing a performance of R and J for her senior thesis next year and hopes that one day she will join a professional Shakespeare company.
As far as her process goes when preparing for a role, Hoganson profits from her mental aptitude. “For me, it’s about not being in my head too much, I’m very much a thinking actor. I’m learning to trust my instinct and especially my physical instincts but the hardest part is remembering to trust that and not getting caught up in thinking about everything as it happens.” It’s hard to stop thinking so much when you’re such a naturally intellectual person!
Hoganson will be featured in the upcoming Arts and Letters play The Sum of Me, where she plays Sydney Phillips, a woman who is coping with the loss of her mother along with her two siblings. Something that is difficult in this kind of emotional play is “balancing the amount of guilt she feels about her mother’s death with the way that she’s interacting with her siblings.” She really hopes that people come away from this show with a sense of comfort and relief: “You’re always going to look for acceptance and sometimes you’re going to get it, and sometimes you’re not. And those moments that you do are really what make those moments that you don’t worth suffering through.”
The Sum of Me will run March 28th and 29th at 8pm in the Max Noah Recital Hall. Tickets are $2 for students and $4 for general admission.