Shakespeare Competition

Shakespeare Competition

Alison Kutch, Writer


Starting five years ago, our drama students have had the opportunity to participate in the ESU National Shakespeare competition at Lewis & Clark College. In this competition, the winner of the Seton competition and two runners up go to compete against High Schoolers from the regional branch which is all of Oregon and Southwest Washington. At the competition, they are to perform a previously selected sonnet and monologue that they have had time to memorize and rehearse.

Earlier this year, the seventh period drama class held a Shakespeare competition among the students. For this competition, students had to memorize a monologue from one of Shakespeare’s plays and recite it in front of three judges, Mrs. Sherman, as well as their classmates. The students who succeeded and did the best, not only recited their monologue but put real feeling into it so it was meaningful and left an impact.

Three students were chosen by judges Mr. Chase, Father Woody, and Mrs. Tiny, a professional actress who has assisted with previous plays. As chosen by the judges, Elizabeth Hennessy, Carlson Fields, and Kendra Brislawn were the three students who would advance to the competition at Clark. Elizabeth’s monologue recited in class was Anne’s monologue from Richard III, Carlson’s was Juliet’s monologue in Act 3 of Romeo and Juliet, and Kendra’s monologue was Queen Margaret’s monologue from Henry VI.

Unfortunately, Kendra was not able to make it to the competition, but Carlson and Elizabeth were able to go and did very well. For the next level of the competition, the students had to memorize one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Elizabeth and Carlson spent about three weeks preparing for the competition at Clark College. The competition involved people from schools all over Oregon who all ranged in skill and talent. Elizabeth, who made it to this level last year, recited Sonnet 141: In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes. With this Sonnet, Elizabeth took second to a Senior from the same school as the Senior who took first last year. Last year, only the second year Seton’s drama students participated in this competition, Elizabeth took third place.

When asked about this Shakespeare competition, Sophomore Carlson Fields said, “It was a great experience and it was interesting to meet all the competitors from the Oregon area.” Not only did this competition provide our drama students with a chance to branch out in their acting abilities, but it was also an opportunity for them to meet people with similar skill level and interests as them.

The first place winner of the Portland area competition, advances to a national competition. This competition takes place at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center in New York City. At this level of the competition, one competitor from each branch will compete, performing another one of Shakespeare’s monologues or sonnets as well as doing numerous other exercises that will be provided upon their arrival. The top three competitors come away with prizes. Last years prizes included a scholarship to the American Shakespeare Center’s Theatre Camp in Staunton, Virginia for first place, $1,000 awarded by The English-Speaking Union of the United States for second place, and $500 for third place from The Shakespeare Society of New York City.