Students Compete in ESU Shakespeare

On Friday, January 12th, seven students competed in this year’s ESU Shakespeare contest in front of the student body and faculty during morning meeting. Finalists included Sash Davis ’18, Hannah Stewart ’18, Sang Hun Kim ’18, Miranda Namiotka ’20, Edward He ’21, Sam Bick ’21, and Jill Reef ’21. Winners were announced on Monday, January 15th. Acting teacher and director of Western Reserve Academy’s segment of this competition, Mrs. Donalee Ong, revealed in front of the full student body in the chapel that Namiotka, whose alternate would be Reef, were this year’s winners. Later that day, I spoke with Miranda. Her winning monologue was from Julius Caesar, in which she played the part of Portia. “I chose my monologue specifically because I liked how [Portia] never yelled at her husband because she loved him so much, despite how frustrated she was,” Namiotka said, adding, “I found it difficult because Portia’s concerns were much more mundane [than some of the other characters].” Most of the students that participated in the contest are currently taking Mrs. Ong’s acting class as their art requirement. Much of her class time is dedicated to working on the monologues performed, and her years of experience certainly bring a unique insight to the competition. “We did multiple activities in class regarding the monologues. Most preparation involved dictation and emphasis which really helped my monologue come together. Mrs. Ong was a big help and I am very thankful for it,” Namiotka commented. On the Thursday night before the performance, the finalists used the chapel for preparation. Miranda, when asked about how she was feeling on the day of the performance, said, “I was very very nervous leading up to Friday, but once I stepped up onto the chapel stage everything seemed to calm down and I was able to perform to the best of my ability.” Zohaib Malik ’19 was delighted by the performances and declared, “The Shakespeare competition this year just brought tears to my eyes. I was so delighted to see the plethora of outstanding young men and women partaking in such a provocative intellectual olympiad. The performers gave an all-around pleasurable viewing experience. In particular, I liked Sam Bick’s performance, as he brought life to a scene that otherwise would have probably bored me. As one who is currently reading Hamlet in class, I was a bit tired of the sophistry that came along with simply reading the pages of the play. This performance shed a whole new light onto the truly captivating motifs that Shakespeare has graced us with.” Overall, this year’s contest was a success, and I’m sure many students look forward to next year’s. Miranda will soon move onto the next round of the country-wide competition in Cleveland.

– Noah Frato-Sweeney ’20

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