An appetite for theater


by Kate paulman

Being motivated, hard-working, outgoing, positive, and open-minded are qualities hard for anyone to live up to, but sophomore Bethany Hanson is trying to master them all.

And she’ll need all those qualities when she takes the stage as Julie in Theatre Simpson’s production of “Nora and Julie.”

Opening night is Friday, Oct. 14, and the play runs through Oct. 16. Hanson said she’d be nervous, but ready.

“I still get a little nervous before the performance starts,” Hanson said. “I just try focus on the task at hand and remember practice makes perfect.”

The list of Hanson’s attributes could go on, but to fully understand her, one needs to look at her past achievements and future goals.

Hanson graduated a year early from Des Moines Valley High School to travel to Denmark for a year before starting college.

Now that she’s at Simpson, Hanson is a double major in theatre and international relations. After graduation she plans to use her degree to help with a presidential campaign, join the Peace Corps and work in anthropology.

“After I graduate I want to do a lot of things where I make a difference in peoples’ lives because I believe in social justice for others,” Hanson said.

Hanson has a busy academic schedule, but she enjoys taking time for the theater.

“I wanted to continue acting as long as possible, so I thought I would do it here while I still could,” Hanson said.

Director Tom Woldt is sure Hanson is up to the challenge.

“Bethany is a pleasure to work with because she has an inquisitive mind and because she often offers a fresh view of things,” Woldt said.

Hanson has already had experience at Simpson in front of an audience. Last year she was a member of the chorus in “Trojan Women.”

“It was both difficult and challenging,” Hanson said. “I was nervous because I had to sing for the part but for my first performance here, it was a great experience.”

She said having confidence is one of the best ways to prepare for a performance. She added that being able to ignore distractions is also a key quality when preparing to speak in front of an audience.

“I don’t really have any big superstitions but sometimes I have dreams about how the performance is going to go,” Hanson said. “Distractions are the worst thing when you are on stage.”

Woldt has confidence in Hanson’s ability.

“Her honesty and her great sense of irony are both attributes that serve her well as an actress and as a person,” Woldt said.

The actress had plenty of experience long before she took the stage at Simpson.

“I first got involved with theater in fourth grade,” Hanson said. “I was from a small town and my best friend’s mom was the director of the play, ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and they needed people, so I joined.”

Senior Sarah Harriman, wardrobe manager for “Nora and Julie” enjoys Hanson’s company on and off the stage.

“I have worked with Bethany before this and it was a good experience,” Harriman said.

Hanson said part of the reason she enjoys theater at Simpson is her fellow performers.

“We are kind of one big happy family,” Hanson said.