Hark! And the Winners Are . . .
"O cowardly conscience, how dost thou afflict me!" (5.3) David Hershinow ('00), who took first in the competition, recited the monologue from "Richard III."
BY MARISA WAHL
Screaming, shouting, flailing of arms, and talking to imaginary people; This is not a circus, it's the annual Shakespeare competition.
The Shakespeare competition is not just endless monotone on how the contestant compares thee to a summer's day, but it is an event that displays new talent while new Shakespearean pieces are performed, perpetuating Shakespeare's legacy.
A large crowd of students watched as their classmates performed a prepared monologue at the annual Shakespeare competition.
The pressure to do well was on when contestants found out that the actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, this year's Keable's Chair holders, offered to do the judging. "It's nice how they will be a part of the competition. It will be like a wrap up to the Keables Fortnight," said the Shakespeare competition advisor, Ms. Theresa Drew. Also, Tyrone Wilson, one of the members of the acting company, helped coach the seventh- to ninth-graders a few days before the competition.
Six would-be bards took top honors at the competition. For the seventh- through ninth-grade competition, Alan Wu ('03) placed first, Megan Worthley ('03) came in second, and Jayna Gee ('03) came in third place. For the ninth- through 12th- competition, David Hershinow ('00) received first place, Alex Berenberg ('00) came in second, Anne Kennedy ('01) took third place.
"I wasn't really nervous about performing because I remember Mr. Scott Todd always told me to say 'No shame! No shame!' and I said that over and over again to myself," said Wu.
"We were given a handout that made it clear that we were looking for whether the students had an understanding of the text, how they delivered their lines, the kinds of gestures and movements used, how natural they spoke their lines, and with what emphasis expressed, and of course, volume," said one of the judges for the seventh- through ninth-grade competition, Ms. Lori Aki. "We were really impressed by Alan's voice, and the manner in which he spoke his lines, and also he seemed very comfortable with his piece. He had it completely memorized and understood exactly what he was saying. Plus, the emotion he conveyed was outstanding."
Hershinow, the top winner for the upper competition, will now represent Iolani and compete against all of the other winners of the participating schools at the state Shakespeare competition held at Punahou in three weeks. He said, "I am honored that such esteemed actors would recognize me as first place. When Ms. Gail Schroers shook my hand, I thought she was telling me 'good try.' I was so surprised." In the next few weeks, Ms. Drew and Dr. Michael Lagory will help prepare Hershinow for states.
Hershinow sure captured the audience's attention by starting his performance with a loud scream. "David performed a very powerful scene from Richard III. He came alive as soon as he stepped on to the stage. His anger and emotions seemed so incredibly real," said Kim Chun ('01).
"The Shakespeare competition encourages young students to test their acting abilities with one of the most challenging playwrights. I think that this year's level of competition was superb," said Berenberg, who took first place in last year's competition. People never seem to get enough of performing on stage.
"I think that it's really a lot fun to go up there and pretend to be someone else and then while I was on stage I didn't feel like I was reciting anything. I became my character, Romeo," said Wu.
The Shakespeare competition usually is flooded with more contestants each year as students decide to enter for academic as well as personal reasons. "I entered partly for the extra credit, and also because acting Shakespeare is really fun," said Ginger Huan ('01), who played the part of Viola from "Twelfth Night."
This year differed from last only because a seventh- to ninth-grade competition was added to the agenda. "There was so much response last year, that we thought it might be a good idea to see how many people we could get for the seventh- through ninth- competition especially because ninth grade is speech-based," said Ms. Drew. From then the decision was made to open the competition to all of the upper school. Even several hundred years after his time, Shakespeare still enjoys an increasingly large following at the Iolani campus.
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