Molly Hood said that playing the lead in *Hamlet* recently was the hardest thing she's ever done -- but also a great lesson, because she can use what she learned to teach her students at Radford University.
A Virginia native with a passion for Shakespeare, Hood took on the Dane's role at the Richmond (Virginia) Shakespeare Festival, and said performing was a magical experience that she now draws upon daily as she molds aspiring actors at Radford.
“Once you’ve had experience, it enables you to put things in a proper perspective for the students,” Hood said, adding that many students are overly nervous about performing. “I hope my experience will help them and reassure them.”
Hood, an assistant professor, teaches two acting sections and an on-stage make-up course, during which her students learn to push the boundaries and understanding of the human face, adding features if they don’t exist. It’s something that takes time to master, Hood said.
“I can’t tell them ‘forget what your face looks like! Just forget it!’ because that doesn’t work,” she said. “They need to figure it out on their own.”
When she isn’t teaching, Hood is directing, including the recently staged Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells. She considers herself an actor’s director, and prefers to allow some of the natural movements of the actors instead of over-directing.
“Usually, I will come in with my script, with the blocking and movement already done, but when they first get up on their feet, I tell the actors to trust their own instincts,” Hood said. “I give them the freedom to have control over the little movements so the show is more natural.
For the spring semester, Hood is directing Murder on the Lust Boat, which premieres in February at The Side Door in downtown Radford.
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