March 4, 2019
Boyce and Fort Couch students reach Shakespeare finals
Two groups of Upper St. Clair middle school students advanced to the finals and 11 students earned Honorable Mention in the 25th Annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. The Showcase of Finalists was held on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, at the O’Reilly Theater in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
Among the finalists was a team of Boyce Middle School sixth graders – Armen Pettit, Ishaan Sharma and Tyler McClintock-Comeaux – who portrayed the roles of Quince, Bottom and Flute from “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” The other team of Upper St. Clair finalists included Fort Couch Middle School eighth graders Rebecca Lang, Eleanor Alford and Ella Elkoni who performed a scene as Clown, Charmian and Cleopatra from “Antony & Cleopatra.” In the final round of competition, Anushka Patil substituted for Ella Elkoni as Ella was in Washington, D.C. with the Future City competition.
Eleven Upper St. Clair students earned Honorable Mention recognition for their performances including: sixth graders Meredith Huzjak and Ben Seewald for King Lear and fool from “King Lear;” sixth graders Elliott Bruno, Sydney Montgomery, Bryan Deep, Kristen Albertini, Sydney Waldron and Anna Engleman for Macbeth, witches, Hecate and apparitions from “Macbeth;” seventh graders Katie Kucherawy and Janelle Knierim, Julia and Lucetta from “Two Gentlemen of Verona;” and eighth grader Rebecca Lang for her Hermione monologue from “A Winter's Tale.”
In total, 39 Upper St. Clair students competed in the Shakespeare Monologue and Scene Contest – 22 from Boyce Middle School, 13 from Fort Couch Middle School and four from Upper St. Clair High School.
In addition to the finalists and honorable mentions, other Boyce students who participated include: Jamie Barrett, Esha Lathia, Rohan Mehta, Elise Parrish, Madison Kovacs, Opal Miller, Carlee Santel, Sara Gillespie, Logan Campbell, Isabella Donnelly and Pritika Gupta.
From Fort Couch, other student participants were: Ipsita Singh, Irene Yap, Libby Eannarino, Emily Whiteford, Lauren Welch, Priyasha Itani and Sydney Zottola.
High school participants were: Anoushka Sinha, Nora Barker, Kaitlyn Clougherty and Aditri Thakur.
“It was an exciting and special year for Shakespeare on this 25th anniversary, and Upper St. Clair was well represented in every performance – from the initial competition to finalists,” Diane Ecker, Boyce Middle School gifted education teacher, said.
More than 1,000 students in grades 4-12 from 80 area schools competed in the preliminary rounds in early February. Students could enter the monologue, scene or both portions of the contest in either the upper division (grades 8-12) or the lower division (grades 4-7).
Coaching sessions are conducted in January and February in the schools and at the O'Reilly Theater. Contestants present their pieces in front of a panel of judges, and those who advance to the final round of the contest have the opportunity to perform at the Showcase of Finalists. Judging criteria include understanding of the text, emotional connectedness, character development, physical and vocal performance, and pacing and the interaction amongst the actors in a scene.
All participants receive a contest t-shirt and a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a Public Theater production.