Using the ancient practice of fixed hour prayer observed by the Abrahamic faith traditions, Praying the Hours personifies each hour into a character to tell a story of a 24-hour day. In the feature film, Traveling Man visits with each of eight friends on the day of his accidental death, and—as he crosses over from this life into the next—sees life anew from the perspective of eternity. In the eight short films that expand the project, the story of each hour is told in more detail.
Here, Director Lauralee Farrer comments on the casting of Karla Droege as the hour called Lauds in “The Story of the Childless Woman.” Lauds is the name of the dawn hour of prayer in the Benedictine tradition.
Karla Droege portrays the character of Lauds in the story of a childless woman—a tale of a woman who did not expect life to turn out the way it has.Karla’s work as an actress has included lead and supporting roles in film and television projects as well as leading roles in theatrical productions of The Baby Dance, Leading Ladies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Five Cups. She is a member of one of the oldest and most successful small theater companies in Hollywood (Actor’s Co-op), and works as a Merchandise Coordinator for The Disney Store.
Karla is from Valparaiso, Indiana, graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts and describes herself as a Christian liberal. Her craft is informed by a love for travel including Guatemala for an intensive Spanish immersion program; the Middle East; Crete, Carthage, and many points in the U.S. She is an athlete, often hiking, running, and calls herself a “black belt” in Taebo.
Borrowing a quote from Emile Zola to describe herself, she says “If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you. I came to live out loud.” A self-described Christian and a liberal, she says, “I believe in God, I believe in learning, I believe in doing what you love. I feel very strongly about not living chained by your fears,” Karla adds. “I believe that our greatest dream will always hold our greatest fear. There is no guarantee that you will always get what you want when you follow your dreams, but going after it will guarantee you a life of excitement, challenge, learning, growth, great joy and great sorrow.” Karla’s eagerness to accept the unique and unconventional challenge of portraying the childless woman as Lauds is a testimony to her willingness to risk herself in just these ways.
Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez wrote the simple lines: “My boat struck something deep. And nothing changed, and everything has changed. And here I sit in the middle of my new life.” This is a Lauds prayer. What is, is. What is not, is not. New and not new, this sleepy, achy hour meets us with tender urgings toward courage, and the character of Lauds bridges this gap beautifully, through the person of Karla Droege.
still photographs by Jordan McMahon