Cameron Alexander thinks Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is decidedly overdone. Of course, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done at all.
“I just think there’s a better way to do it,” he says.
That’s a bold statement, and Alexander knows it. He’s one of the Rec Room’s resident artists and, as part of the year-long residency program, he’s been developing his version of the Shakespeare standard, which runs this weekend.
“I started thinking about who these characters would be if they lived today,” he says. “In the original, they are Athenian royalty. Who relates to that? So, I decided they’d be the children of A-listers. And, when you read the Shakespeare, Hermia’s father has a huge problem with her running off after Lysander. I kind of thought, what if we make Lysander a woman? Because that scenario is totally relevant in LGBTQ issues.”
Described in Rec Room press materials as “a modern-day, gender-bent, pop music fueled” show, Alexander has adapted the 60-page script himself. The UH-trained actor says it’s his first foray into directing on his own, and he’s excited about how the process has been.
“My favorite part of this has been collaborating with everyone,” he says. “I love this idea that we are building something together. There have been a lot of happy accidents.”
For Alexander, the encouragement and ideas he received as part of the residency program have been invaluable. He says that in addition to being able to meet dancers and musicians and artists in disciplines different from his, he got a front-row seat into how they approach their crafts.
“That was eye-opening,” he says, “and it gave us the chance to see how we could all help each other, give each other ideas and encouragement.” The program also helped artists learn how to manage and market themselves and their work.
Another element of the inaugural program is that each participant presents his or her work across a six-week festival. As Alexander revs up to his own performances this weekend, his social media posts via the Rec Room Instagram account have showed his excitement, sharing stories about tech rehearsals and reminding people the show opens Friday.
“I was nervous at first,” he says about how everything was going to come together. “But, I was in a place where I was encouraged to take risks and now, I’m so ready to have it happen.”
March 9 and 10. Tickets $15. Rec Room, 100 Jackson St. 713-334-1291. More info and tickets at recroomarts.org.