Shakespeare Showcase Spotlights Drama’s Talent

Rebecca Gluck, News editor

When junior Harry Davis took the stage of the Miramonte theater on Feb. 5, he didn’t have high hopes for winning the audience’s vote for best monologue performance. He thought the other monologues were impressive, so it came as a surprise when he learned that his delivery of the lines he had chosen from Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens” had earned him the honor. “A lot of the other monologues were very good so I didn’t really expect to win, but it felt good when I did,” he said. Davis will perform his monologue at the San Francisco English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition on March 5.

Davis’s monologue was one of the acts that the Miramonte drama department presented at the annual Shakespeare Showcase, where students performed eight-minute adaptations of Shakespearean plays as well as shorter monologues. These adaptations weren’t just summarized versions of the plays. Instead students created their scripts using only lines they combined from the original works, and performed the acts with no props, no costumes and only four chairs.

Group acts included adaptations of “Titus Andronicus,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Henry V.” Many groups chose to add humor into their adaptations and to modernize the subject matter.  “I liked the first performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (with sophomores Bradley Jang, Jayne Latimer, Sophia Villamor and Peter Zucca and freshmen Paul Legallet and Grant Peters) because their take on the play was really original and entertaining,” senior Ali Fitch said.

After the acts were completed, audience members were asked to vote for an actor or actress who performed their favorite monologue to represent Miramonte at the San Francisco English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition on March 5. There, they will compete against other drama students from California for a chance to win a scholarship and perform at New York’s Lincoln Center and, eventually if the student does well enough, London’s Globe Theater, built in 1599. Last year, Miramonte alum Anita Levin was selected to perform in the San Francisco festival.

This year, the winner of the vote was junior Harry Davis, thanks to his monologue from “Timon of Athens”. When he found out he had won, Davis was pleasantly surprised. “I’m looking forward to performing in San Francisco and getting to watch the performances from other schools and learning from what they’ve done with their monologues,” he said.

The showcase culminated with a light-hearted adaptation of “High School Musical,” whose script was written by senior Eleanor Roeder. Her character, Gabriella, belted out the words to “Breaking Free” alongside her lover, Troy (senior Henry Hodder), while Sharpay (senior Jesse Epstein) and Ryan (senior Kyle McKeen) jealously watched. “I hope everyone felt nostalgia watching it and remembered that in high school, we’re all in this together,” said senior Aoife Tejada, who played Ms. Darbus.