LAHAINA - Shakespeare lives on at Lahainaluna High School, shown by the dedicated students who recently participated in the school's annual Shakespeare Monologue Competition.
A small, strong field of friendly competitors supported each other as they presented their fully memorized monologue of 20 lines from the works of the prolific playwright.
Bailey Pendergast, a member of the senior class at LHS, provided a winner's rendition as Hamlet from "Hamlet," garnering top honors in this year's event held on campus.
Gathered around a life-sized version of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” following the competition in the school’s library are: (standing from left) Ann Marie Wilder, ‘Ute Finch, Kristi Scott, Katherine Cloutier and Bailey Pendergast. Students Carly Bierman (left) and Esther Arvizu are kneeling in front.
Second place went to Esther Arvizu performing Leonato from "Much Ado About Nothing."
Third place was awarded to Carly Bierman, who also portrayed Hamlet.
Pendergast's win gives her an opportunity to participate in the state competition sponsored by the Hawaii Branch of the English Speaking Union.
At the contest slated on Oahu, contestants are required to present both a monologue and a selected sonnet from memory. A first place finish there earns an all-expense paid weekend to compete at the national level in New York City.
Pendergast shared that "this was my second, and last, year participating in the monologue contest, so I chose Hamlet because I wanted to do a character I'd always loved. It's always been such an amazing experience; it's all about self-confidence and understanding where a character is coming from to portray them correctly."
Fellow senior Arvizu added that "our English teachers have been right all along - Shakespeare is universal and most definitely timeless. I never realized how much I'd enjoy his work! This Shakespeare competition was a great experience that I'd recommend to anyone."
LHS teachers Aviva Bender-Tualemoso and Terri Simms made the event possible through after-school meetings with the added coaching assistance of Katherine Cloutier, whose services were again provided through Theatre Theatre Maui (TTM)
"The students fully committed themselves and enjoyed Shakespeare's perception of life and all its experiences," noted Cloutier.
This year, the panel of three judges consisted of 'Ute Finch, Kristi Scott and AnnMarie Wilder, all well-experienced in the areas of English language and performing arts.
Their job was to observe the students' performances, rate their stage presence and delivery of Shakespeare's words and provide constructive feedback.
As Finch noted, "Shakespeare writes a tough language to understand, yet these brave ladies gave brilliant performances!"
All participants received a certificate of achievement for their efforts. As a gift from Theatre Theatre Maui, Arvizu and Bierman each received "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare." Pendergast, having received this book last year for her third place award, received a Barnes & Noble gift card of equal value.
TTM is a West Side nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the performing arts to the students and adults of the West Maui community. The group annually provides a summer youth dramatic arts program. Call 661-1168 or e-mail TTMWestMaui@aol .com.