Viking Spotlight: Anne Calderon

Viking+Spotlight%3A+Anne+Calderon

photo courtesy of Anne Calderon

Nandi Smith, feature writer

We all have passions in life, things that bring that other side of us out or make us want to achieve and attain more in our lives. However, even though many can identify their passions, few can say they have acted on pursuing their passions and making it a lifestyle. H-F English teacher Anne Calderon is one of the few who can say that she’s not only found a passion but is actively pursuing it.

 “My parents thought for a long time I should be in theatre, I was a very dramatic child so they knew that that would probably be something to get me into. With my parents’ support I would actively participate in summer theatre and go for roles throughout elementary and middle school,” Calderon said. 

Calderon’s journey in theatre starts early on in her formative years. She recalls her first show in the first or second grade as the poppy flower in the Wizard of Oz at a drama group in Chicago Heights.

  “I remember really thinking that the lead actors were stars and telling the story. Even just being a poppy flower I felt important in the telling of the story, and I think that’s really what sparked my love of performance. From there it just kind of snowballed into what’s now become my biggest passion in life,” Calderon said. 

Being an H-F alumnus, Calderon has been able to watch the theatre program grow, and change but she was most proud to say, “Some things are truly the same which is beautiful, theatre really clings to tradition. Watching the comradery and the support that comes from a program like a theatre, that’s unchanging in many schools,” Calderon said. “What’s really grown is the directors that are here. Between all the directors that are here,  their collective experience and passion for the program have really benefited the kids.”

Thinking about the additions to the theatre program like Calderon’s close friend J.R. Rose, she says,  “every director here is excited by the next production, excited by the new kids in the program, and excited when the veteran kids really take leadership roles and stand up”. She’s most proud so far of the current play they are working on for contest play called The Burn

“When it comes to directing,  besides some smaller plays, Calderon has mostly been an assistant director. However, that’ll be changing soon since Caldron is currently getting her masters in directing at Roosevelt University and has only one year left in the program.

This will be the latest addition to Calderon’s theatre resume which includes acting in “First Date,” “Legally Blonde,”  “Company,” “Wedding Singer” and “Rent.”

Calderon thinks about her favorite plays she’s performed in saying, “It has to be Legally Blonde because it holds a dear place in my heart because my husband proposed to me during the show. Mr. Rose and I are such good friends and he was the director of the program and it was a summer theatre thing so all of our friends were together.”

Something else that made Legally Blonde stick out in Calderon’s repertoire is that way the performance pushed her as an actor. She said, “I also had to work really hard for that role, it was really challenging especially vocally I got to a place where I don’t think my voice has ever been better.”

Even still her role in the broadway show First Date stands out as Calderon explains “Those relationships were unlike any that I’ve formed elsewhere.”

On top of those relationships she made, Calderon learned things in the making of “First Date” that are key parts of being a part of the theatre world.

 “Knowing your art, knowing what your role is in a particular show is important. Appreciating other perspectives is golden in the process, and I think I really learned to take in the expertise from the other people around me,” Calderon said. 

Throughout the years of being an actor, Calderon has been able to build strong confidence in her field. She explains how it developed over the years saying “Practice! Practice! Practice! And also just knowing the things I’m good at and the things I’m not.”

In this current phase of Calderon’s role in theatre, she’s giving back to the community that helped her get her feet wet in the world of acting. 

Her advice to students scared to get into the theatre world is “Do it! It’s the craziest world, it’s where the audience goes to escape the world, where you go as a performer, director, tech member to create the world. It is a magical space so to be a part of that and allow yourself to just go for it and just try this form of art out is worth every minute even if it’s scary.”

Moving forward, Calderon is looking forward to jump-starting her career as a director once she graduates from her directing program. This means plays for the school, community and more. Later down the line after gaining even more experience, Calderon will be back in her realm as an actor in downtown Chicago.