• Feb. 22, 2024

    Sibling duo advances to Shakespeare finals

    Kaaveri Patil & Aarav Patil Two Upper St. Clair students were named finalists in the 30th Annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Siblings Kaaveri Patil (Hamlet) and Aarav Patil (Polonius) will perform their scene from “Hamlet” in the Showcase of Finalists on Monday, Feb. 26 at the O’Reilly Theater in downtown Pittsburgh.

    Kavaveri, a seventh grader at Fort Couch Middle School, was a winner in last year’s Lower Division Monologues for her portrayal of Helena from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Aarav is a senior at Upper St. Clair High School.

    Best Scene and Best Monologue winners will be selected in both the Upper (grades 8-12) and Lower (grades 4-7) Divisions. Tickets to the Showcase of Finalists can be reserved online at ppt.org/Shakespeare.

    The following Upper St. Clair participants earned Honorable Mention:

    • Boyce Middle School: Eleanor Wilkinson (Phoebe), “As You Like It”
    • USCHS:  Reese Copenhaver, “Romeo & Juliet”
    • USCHS:  Zahra Hossain (Murderer 2), Sara Gillespie (Murderer 1), & Noshi Dabas (Clarence), “Richard III”

    Preparation for the Shakespeare contest began in late-October. Upper St. Clair’s middle and high school students worked with Mr. Thomas Yochum and Mrs. Sherri Garvey, gifted/enrichment teachers, to review, select and understand their scenes and monologues.

    “Many hours of practice were put into the eventual memorization and execution of these high-level scenes,” Mr. Yochum said. "Competing in the Shakespeare Contest is a combination of hard work, rote memorization, reading comprehension, literary analysis, public speaking, and the theater arts. It truly takes a special student to see this process through from beginning to end.”

    In January, Upper St. Clair students participated in a special coaching session with actors from the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Earlier this month, Mr. Yochum and Mrs. Garvey hosted a USC Shakespeare Showcase to workshop scenes, rehearse and, finally, to perform using the protocols of the actual contest.

    The preliminary round of the Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest drew more than 750 submissions from 80+ schools and organizations. Participants submitted video performances of monologues and/or scenes they had chosen from the works of William Shakespeare. Teams of judges evaluated each entry, and selected the Finalists and Honorable Mentions for each division.

    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.