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National Shakespeare Competition returns, searches for school representative

Jamie Kim, staff writer

The English-Speaking Union (ESU) National Shakespeare Competition, in which high school students perform works of William Shakespeare, is returning to Beverly on Friday, Feb. 5.

Any student is welcome to participate, and the first round of the competition is to be held at a location to be announced at lunch. To represent Beverly in the next round of the contest, a student must win first place in the school competition by delivering the best performance of a Shakespearean monologue.

“I feel prepared for my audition because I have my monologue memorized, and I don’t usually get nervous until the last minute,” sophomore Julia Marshall said.

This competition was held at Beverly in the past, but has not been active in the past few years. This year, English teacher Lynne Heneidi wanted to re-enter students into this competition while reading “Macbeth” in her honors sophomore English classes.

“I wanted to restart doing these competitions because in my classes, we are reading ‘Macbeth’, and in all of other the English classes, they also read Shakespeare,” Heneidi said. “I also wanted to do these competitions because we have so much talent at this school, and I think we have a great chance at winning the entire competition.”

The winner of the smaller region branch, which is after the local high school branch, of the competition then advances to compete in the greater Los Angeles area. If he or she wins that round, he or she goes on to compete in the Nationals Final in New York with an all-expenses-paid trip to New York.

“I think I have as fair a shot at winning as everyone else. I wish the rest of the competitors luck, and I’m really excited to say that this contest was brought back to our school,” sophomore Solomon Margo said.

Furthermore, the first place winner of the Nationals Final earns an all-expenses paid trip to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in the summer.

“[Winning the Nationals Finals] is a big thing to conceptualize, but my heart would definitely tell me to seize an amazing opportunity like studying theatre in London,” Margo said. “As of right now, I’m just happy to recite the work of the genius that Shakespeare is, no matter who I do it in front of.”

However, despite these prizes and awards, the reason why the ESU hosts this annual competition, as stated on its official page, is to encourage students to “develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature.”

“I haven’t performed Shakespeare since the seventh grade, and I forgot how difficult it could be!” sophomore Jessica Sater said. “It’s interesting how different the English is compared with the text and how we’d say the lines today.”

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