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Hodgson makes his directing debut this fall with the first pre-season show at the Loeb Experimental Theater: How I Learned to Drive, which opens this weekend. Last year, he acted in Chess, Richard III and Pippin. When he’s not acting or directing, he divides his time between the Literature concentration and in serving as the Communications Coordinator for the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club.
Describe your current project:
It’s How I Learned to Drive, it’s a Pulitzer prize winning play by Paula Vogel from 1997. Basically, the story is a memory play with Lil’ Bit, a thirty-five year old woman looking back on her adolescence and her relationship with her uncle. I like it because she’s a brilliantly witty and wonderfully funny woman, even though it’s a terrible experience she’s relating. And the cast is just amazing.
How is Harvard as a community for artists?
It’s so wonderfully diverse and so chock full of talented people that it’s amazing for anyone to jump in and be whatever kind of artist they want to be. It’s very much for students who have taken their interests in art and run with them. Dramatically, there are so many opportunities to do your own shows, to learn from people at the Loeb, and to put on a play anywhere. There’s also a lot of cross-pollination with the dance and the visual arts community. You just have to take advantage of it.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Positive, sappy, and (incredibly) lucky
What do you think of the Common Casting process? Any suggestions on making it better?
I didn’t have to go through Common Casting, because How I Learned to Drive is a pre-season show. We did casting in the spring and got a grant from the Gilbert and Sullivan Players, and they’ve been wonderful collaborators. Common Casting is so actor-friendly. It can be hard for directors, because there are so many talented actors and you have to share. But, I feel like Common Casting gets so many more people to try out for shows that directors have to benefit.
Where do you imagine yourself in ten years?
Oh geez, I’ll be thirty. I would like to be a happy, healthy thirty year old (gasp). No, I want to love what I’m doing whether I’m in the arts or just appreciating the arts. At this point, I’m so open that I can’t set myself a career.
Which do you prefer: acting or directing?
I’ve acted a lot more at Harvard. This is my first Harvard directing experience, but I love them both. Pressure wise, I’ve found that directors have the inverse pressures of the actors. As it gets closer to the show, I have less and less to do. On opening night I get to just sit back and watch. When you’re a director you can appreciate all the work the actors put in. In terms of fun, though, acting is more of a release.
What would you like to relive from your four years at Harvard?
I would love to relive the days before I got here. They were so exciting and there were so many possibilities. And then when I got to school there was this incredible community of people to meet. It was a nice example of justified optimism.
What has been your most fulfilling artistic/academic experience?
I was a chorus man in Sweeney Todd, in the spring of my freshman year. It was my first theater experience at Harvard. I was surrounded by all these amazing people and working on this amazing project. And they were all so willing to share with me as a freshman. I just had fun watching them and being a part of it.
What would you consider to be your biggest quirk?
I have terrible moments of intense inarticulateness.
Which writer or playwright do you admire most?
I love the plays of Tennessee Williams. To be able to write such beautiful things is impressive.
What’s your favorite locale on campus?
I personally love Dudley Gardens, the little enclave behind Lamont, because it’s always sunny and bright and there’s never anyone there. It’s just a beautiful garden with little stone benches where you can read.
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