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    • Midsummer cast rehearses in Lovell.

StuPro Director Calderone on A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Amalia Tuchmann '23 Assistant Arts Editor
On September 9 and 10, sixteen Hopkins students took to the stage in the summer production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Eli Calderone ’22.
Midsummer was not Calderone’s first time directing, as he directed a One Act in the 2019 Winter Show titled Please Have a Seat, but this was his first time bringing to life an entire play. His experience directing Please Have a Seat gave him valuable insights which he was able to use during A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “During the One Acts, I was able to get my footing, and learn how it feels to be the director and not the directed. It also showed me just how important communication between actors and directors in a show is.” Calderone notes that the importance of communication re-emerged during Midsummer: “In rehearsal, the actors would sometimes ask ‘Can I do this during the scene?’ and I would say ‘Sure, let’s try it.’ And they would do it, and then afterwards I would sit there thinking ‘That was incredible, please do that again.’”

The production is entirely student-led. Calderone explains that “the extent of the faculty’s influence was deciding the director. The actual audition process, casting, rehearsing was all me, which was very scary but also a lot of fun.”

On opening night, Calderone says he was “really excited for the audience to see the work that the actors have done, because they are working really hard right now. It is not easy to memorize Shakespeare, but when we ran through the first three acts [during] rehearsal, there were minimal mistakes, which I was very proud of.” Even through all of their hard work, the cast has still managed to find time to enjoy themselves and have fun: “Backstage, we’re always hanging out, having a good time, and on stage everyone’s very supportive of each other. I’m really happy with this group.”

As the director, Calderone was able to decide in what ways this production should follow or break with tradition. “I grew up with Midsummer as a bedtime story, and there were certain things while I was growing up that I didn’t like about it, including its tone of misogyny. I worked closely with my actor for Demetrius, whose character is traditionally very terrible to his love interest Helena, to change that, which is something that I’m proud of.”

Reflecting on his directing experience, Calderone says, “I’m just having such a good time doing this. I mean, it’s very scary to put something out into the world that you have led, and have people watch it, but it’s also incredibly exciting and rewarding, and this experience has definitely solidified that this is something I want to continue doing in the future.”
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