20th Annual Shakespeare Monologue and Scene Contest

Maya Lapp, The Eagle Staff Writer

Every child must grumble their way through the writings of the man who is often considered the greatest English writer of our history- William Shakespeare. Not as many of these students, however, get the chance to bring his works to life in the way that they were meant to be viewed. Not in the typed pages of a befuddling book but on the stage, bringing emotion and energy to his works. The annual Shakespeare Monologue and Scene Contest gives students the opportunity to see how Shakespeare wished his writing to be enjoyed both for the audience and the actors who get the chance to interpret his ideas.

Twenty-six scenes and monologues were chosen this year from among over 1,200 contestants to be performed in the finals of the competition for all who wished to see. It has grown from its first year of 75 contestants into a city-wide tradition. It has spread the love of both the magic of theater and Shakespeare to tens of thousands of people over the years and continues to give them a chance to express their own emotions through his words.

The competition is broken up into lower and upper divisions. Although it is an honor simply to be chosen to perform in front of the audience on the final day of competition there is, of course, a scene and monologue from each division that is chosen as the year’s best and each actor is presented with the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This year for the younger monologue section the winner was Shay Freund, portraying Flute as Thisbe from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The lower division scene victor was from The Tempest, Edgar O’Connell, Alice Crow, Julia Coblin and Elliot Pullen acting as Stephano, Ariel, Caliban and Trinculo. There was a tie between Catherine Baird as Trinculo from The Tempest and Donnie Grimm as Bennedick from Much Ado About Nothing for the upper division monologues. The upper scene winner was performed by Logan Shiller and Burke Rhodes who were portraying Proteus and Valentine from the play The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Many of these winners came from different schools and some were homeschooled, giving a very accurate depiction of how wide spread this competition has grown to. This year all of the victors were performing comedic snippets from Shakespeare’s works, but as often as not there are also dramatic sections chosen to represent the outstanding acting quality shown by the participants. This year there were not many students representing Obama Academy, so hopefully next year we will have a better turn out. Turn the Obama Drama toward giving life to the words of the greatest playwright in history!