• Feb. 23, 2021

    USCHS senior earns first place for monologue

    Maddie Nolen Upper St. Clair High School senior Maddie Nolen tied for top honors for Best Monologue – Upper Division in the 27th Annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest, a program of Pittsburgh Public Theater. Maddie performed the role of Jailer’s Daughter from “Two Noble Kinsmen.” 

    This year marked Maddie’s seventh and final year competing in the annual competition. She has participated every year since fifth grade – with the exception of her sophomore year.

    “Shakespeare is super fun to read because it has so many layers. You could read a monologue 30 times and find something new on each reading because of the depth of the language and characters,” Maddie said. “We just started Hamlet in English class, so I've gotten a lot of opportunities to read Shakespeare lately, and the language is definitely my favorite part.”

    For the Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest, Maddie selected a monologue from the play “Two Noble Kinsmen.”

    “When I first started looking at it, I liked the prose and found it emotionally dynamic, and I didn’t know much about ‘Two Noble Kinsmen,’ so I thought it would be interesting to study,” Maddie said. “As I learned more about the context of the character and the object of her affections, though, I just found it more and more fascinating. I'd really like to read the play now!”

    The Showcase of Finalists was broadcast on Feb. 22, 2021, via YouTube. This year's contest was held virtually for the first time in the organization's history.  

    “Performing virtually was definitely a different environment,” Maddie said. “I'm sad that I didn't get to visit the PPT (Pittsburgh Public Theater) stage this time, but performing in my house took a lot of the stress off. Regardless, I'm thrilled that the show got to go on this year!

    Maddie, who will graduate from Upper St. Clair High School in June, plans to study language education and theater.

    The complete list of this year’s Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest winners include:

    • Best Scene - Lower Division: Magdalen McDermott (Portia), Adelaide Schmich (Nerissa), The Merchant of Venice, West View Hub
    • Best Monologue - Lower Division: Olivia Lee (Juliet), Romeo and Juliet, North Allegheny Cyber Academy
    • Best Scene - Upper Division: Cameron Tino (Corin), Elijah Groves (Touchstone), As You Like It, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
    • Best Monologue - Upper Division (tie): Kai Suyama (Launce), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hampton High School; and Maddie Nolen (Jailer's Daughter), Two Noble Kinsmen, Upper St. Clair High School

    More than 600 area students from 70 schools competed in the preliminary rounds of this year's contest via video submissions of monologues and/or scenes chosen from the works of William Shakespeare. Students in grades 8 - 12 competed in the Upper Division, and grades 4 - 7 competed in the Lower Division.

    Teams of judges evaluated each participant and those with the highest scores advanced to the Showcase of Finalists.

    Shakespeare Contest Upper St. Clair Finalists, which were announced on Friday, Feb. 19, included:

    • Lower Division Scenes: Ava Liu (Titania) and Aaron Jiang (Bottom), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Boyce Middle School
    • Upper Division, Monologues: Maddie Nolen (Jailer's Daughter), Two Noble Kinsmen, Upper St. Clair High School
    • Upper Division, Scenes: Armen Pettit (Peter Quince), Ishaan Sharma (Bottom), Rohan Mehta (Starveling), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Fort Couch Middle School