By: Connie Klimek
Meet the Director for the Michele’s Little Hearts Theatre production at IU South Bend, Hannah Freeto. Freeto is a junior theatre performance major with a minor in marketing at IU South Bend, graduating in Spring 2023.
Freeto is directing “Tortoise vs. Hare 2: This Time It’s Personal!” This show is a “part two” or follow up to the original, “The Tortoise and The Hare”, centered around the infamous theme of “slow and steady wins the race”. The “Tortoise vs. Hare 2: This Time It’s Personal!” features the grandchildren of the original Tortoise and the original Hare, all participating in a triathlon. Freeto describes the show as being very animated and fun while teaching audiences the importance of being a “good sport” and having kind morals.
Freeto’s repertoire is quite broad, as she has participated in over 70 shows. Entering the performance scene at the age of six, Freeto began participating in community theatre, improvisation shows with father, high school theater, and currently performs at the university level. Freeto is grateful for her growth in character development and confidence facilitated through her experience in the performing arts.
Going into her junior year at IU South Bend, Freeto did not foresee directing in her future. IU South Bend Head of Performance in the Theatre Department and Associate Professor, Justin Amellio-Ashbrook, encouraged Freeto to apply for the directing position. After receiving some encouragement, Freeto felt attracted to directing in hopes of gaining a new perspective in the mechanics of theatrical production.
Amongst Freeto’s experience across a variety of fields involved in a production consist of acting, costume designing, constructing sets, and stage management. Seeking to expand her experience and attempt directing allowed Freeto to establish herself as a “Jack of all trades”.
When approaching the task of directing, Freeto envisioned leading a collaborative piece that took the actors’ opinions into consideration. Freeto’s experience on stage and viewing herself as predominantly an actor, allowed her to connect with the thought process and emotions of her actors. Freeto is grateful for the opportunity to learn, experiment, and grow in her safe space, The Ernestine Raclin School of the Arts Theatre Department.
Reflecting on her influences within the IU South Bend Theatre community, Freeto is humbled and appreciative to her father, professors, mentors, and experiences which have led to the opportunity of directing. Directing has given Freeto insight and understanding to all the effort that goes into bringing a show to life.
Freeto’s career aspirations are to be involved in theatre, preferably as an actress. Freeto is open to working on any aspect that would involve her in the theatrical realm, such as branching out into film and television.
The uncertainty of the pandemic’s impact on the performing arts has taught Freeto to seize every opportunity on stage while learning to be flexible and cope with unexpected circumstances. In response to the current state of the pandemic, “Tortoise vs. Hare 2: This Time It’s Personal!” will be livestreamed at the end of February.
“Support your local artists, support theatre. It’s an important part of our world and community. I’m really glad we have this opportunity to share our work” said Freeto.
Photo provided by Peter Ringenberg.