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Moore wins Shakespeare Monologue Competition

By Staff | Feb 17, 2011

Gathered around a life-size version of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” are (from left) Lahainaluna High School participants Jessa Emmerich, Gaylord Garcia, Ashlee Lyles, Christian Rocha, Jasmine Phillips, Ammy Rodriguez Ampudia, Gary Long, Matthew Spath, Dalena Duong, Zoe Miller, Malia Moore, Michael Ratcliffe and Lagilagialeaso Galoai. Emna Baccar, Erika “Shelby” Liburd, Taylor Norling-Schneider and Sydney Thompson also competed.

LAHAINA — Shakespeare is alive and well judging by the number of students who participated in Lahainaluna High School’s annual Shakespeare Monologue Competition held in January.

It was a record high field of 17 friendly competitors, supporting each other as they presented their selected monologue of up to 20 lines from the works of the prolific playwright.

Senior Malia Moore provided a winner’s rendition of Phebe from “As You Like It,” garnering top honors in this year’s event held on campus after school.

Second place was earned by ninth-grader Jessa Emmerich, who presented Katherina from “The Taming of the Shrew,” and third place was awarded to tenth-grader Gaylord Garcia for his portrayal of Shylock from “The Merchant of Venice.”

For their efforts, Christian Rocha and Matthew Spath were awarded Honorable Mention recognition.

Moore’s first place finish gives her an opportunity to participate in the state finals of the competition sponsored by the Hawaii Branch of the English Speaking Union.

At the Oahu event, contestants will be required to present their monologue and a selected sonnet from memory. The state winner receives an all-expense-paid weekend to compete at the national level in New York City.

Emmerich noted, “I never really understood Shakespeare until we had this contest, where we not only had to memorize a monologue but also analyze it. This experience helped me understand the significance of Shakespeare and how it can relate to us today.”

Garcia participated in 2010, and his top placement this year proved that he was up to the challenge. “Competing was so much fun! Everyone has to experience Shakespeare in their lives and feel the plethora of feelings I felt while performing Shakespeare’s work,” Garcia said.

At LHS, Drama Instructor Graham Seiki made reciting a Shakespeare monologue by memory during class a requirement this quarter for all students, but participation in this competition was voluntary.

Also participating in this rewarding experience were Emma Baccar, Dalena Duong, Lagilagialeaso Galoia, Erika “Shelby” Liburd, Gary Long, Ashlee Lyles, Zoe Miller, Taylor Norling-Schneider, Jasmine Phillips, Michael Ratcliffe, Ammy Rodriguez Ampudia and Sydney Thompson.

The contest was held after school in the library, where a life-size Shakespeare book served as the backdrop. Assisting Seiki with the event this year were Katherine Cloutier and Lynette Chun, both theater professionals whose services have been provided through Theatre Theatre Maui (TTM) to assist the school’s drama class in preparation of this school meet.

Moore noted, “The Shakespeare competition was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. With the help of Katherine and Lynette, everyone was able to improve a lot. It was great watching my peers come out of their shells and having fun.”

The panel of three judges consisted of Nancy Sherman, Penny Wakida and Marti Wukelic, 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 Sherman, TTM executive director for 11 years, noted, “I was honored to be asked to judge after attending all of Lahainaluna’s annual ESU Shakespeare contests, and I was quite taken with the unfettered enthusiasm and diligence of this year’s contestants. Congratulations to each and every one of them.”

All participants received a certificate of achievement for their efforts. As a gift from Theatre Theatre Maui, Moore, Emmerich and Garcia each received their own book of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.” Rocha and Spath also received a book of one of Shakespeare’s plays.

TTM, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Lahaina, is dedicated to bringing the performing arts to the students and adults of the greater West Maui community. It offers a summer youth dramatic arts program annually. For more information, call 661-1168 or e-mail TTMWestMaui@aol.com.