The English-Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition saw a bevy of monologues from Marlborough’s upper and middle school thespians alike: for the first time in the competition’s recent history, ninth graders were allowed to participate.
The English Speaking Union’s new policy prompted Schuyler ’12 to compete with a monologue as Phoebe from As You Like It, for which she won second place. The young prizewinner was shocked to rank among seasoned actors, she said.
“It feels crazy to be put next to all of the older girls, because they are who I look up to and aspire to be like,” Schuyler said. “I think I may have gone into shock when they first called my name.”
On the other hand, drama instructor Gleason Bauer, who helped competitors practice their Shakespearean monologues, said she isn’t at all surprised that Schuyler scored so well.
“She has serious dedication to the art form,” Bauer said.
Senior and Drama Ensemble member Eliza ’09 came in first place in the preliminary round with her portrayal of Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After competing in the regional semifinals, Eliza did not qualify for the regional finals, but said she isn’t letting her loss get to her.
“I’m a second semester senior! I’m not going to let this get me down,” Eliza said. “My specialty isn’t diction; I’m more of an actress. The Shakespeare competition isn’t about acting, but it was a good experience nonetheless.”
Regardless of wins or losses, Bauer said she was impressed with the ability of the students to perform and be vulnerable in front of an audience.
“It’s pretty impressive what those girls do. To get up in front of all of your peers with nothing but you and some text… It’s a tough thing. It takes a lot of courage, and is an accomplishment in and of itself,” Bauer said.