Dobson to serve as guest director for Doane's production of Much Ado About Nothing
She’s studied Shakespeare, performed in Shakespeare plays, worked for a professional Shakespeare company, and now, for the first time, gets to direct a Shakespeare production.
Sasha Dobson, a local director and theatre educator, is serving as the guest director for the Doane University theatre department’s production of Much Ado About Nothing.
Dobson, who works as the Education Outreach Coordinator at the Lied Center for Performing Arts and teaches theatre and acting at UNL and Nebraska Wesleyan, returns to Doane to direct a play for the second time in her career. The last production Dobson directed at Doane was Tribes in 2015.
Much Ado About Nothing, one of the 36 plays written by William Shakespeare, is a fun, witty, romantic comedy that has its fair share of twists and turns. Dobson has elected to set the play in a more contemporary setting, specifically 1958 in small town America.
“Shakespeare is very near and dear to my heart and this is one of my favorite plays,” Dobson says. “The role of Beatrice in this play was on my bucket list to perform for many years. To look at the script from a director’s perspective, I’m learning so much more about this play. Every night of rehearsal has been very exciting.”
Directing a Shakespeare play has been a long time coming for Dobson. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Ithaca College in 1996 and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2000, Dobson moved to England, where she lived for five years. While in England, Dobson worked for a professional Shakespeare company, Shakespeare 2 Go. Dobson and her colleagues played multiple roles, traveling to perform at local residents’ homes.
Dobson worked at Shakespeare 2 Go in England up until her daughter was born. Shortly after, Dobson’s mother passed away from colon cancer, and her family decided to return to America to be closer to family.
Sasha’s passion for Shakespeare originated from her mother, who was working on her PhD in Woman in Shakespeare Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before she passed. “She definitely nurtured in me a love of Shakespeare and his work,” Sasha says. “She looked at his work from a literary standpoint and I celebrate his work from a theatrical standpoint.”
Although Dobson says she grew up reading Shakespeare’s plays from a very early age, it wasn’t until her senior year of undergrad at Ithaca College that she received the opportunity to appear in a Shakespeare full-length play.
“I was thrust into the theatre by my mother,” Sasha says. “I was shy and my mom threw me into the theatre, much against my will at the time, but I found my home here. This is where I felt I belonged and what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Many Doane students, including Nicole Carraher ’23, who will play the role of Hero, have very much enjoyed their time working with Dobson.
“Sasha is an incredible director,” Carraher says. “She’s extremely intuitive, encouraging, and fun to be around. She has an excitable energy that livens up rehearsals.”
Much Ado About Nothing is the first production of Doane University’s theatre department for the 2019-20 academic year. You can see Dobson and the Doane theatre department’s production beginning October 10.
“The audience is sure to see a show that is brilliantly funny, horribly tragic, and ultimately heartwarming,” says Boston Reid ’23, who will play the role of Claudio. “Much Ado has it all!”