Shakespeare on the Hilltop

On January 27, seventeen Hackley Upper School students presented Shakespeare monologues as they competed in the first round of the English Speaking Union (ESU) National Shakespeare Competition.

The competitors memorized monologues from Shakespeare, and were judged on whether their performances show understanding of meaning, language, and character. In addition, the judges considered whether their delivery conveys their ownership of the text through posture, movement, and voice.

The English Speaking Union was founded just after World War I by Sir Evelyn Wrench and a group of American and British vets who hoped to diminish the chances of another great war by promoting understanding among English-speaking people around the world. The ESU still strives to achieve that goal through events like the Shakespeare contest. And while that goal may strike us in 2020 as overly optimistic and anglo-centric, Shakespeare’s plays, which have been translated into 80 languages and continue to be performed globally both in translation and in English, represents a remarkable point of international unity.

This year's participants included Quinn O’Halloran, Conor McMahon, Hadassah Henderson, Devin Bernstein, Morgan O’Halloran, Molly Reinmann, Maren McCrowen, Jason Berger, Madeline Zuckerman, Grant Offner, Amanda Mooney, Decchen Sherpa, Mira Zaslow, John Esposito, Tanner Benedetto, Emma Joseph, and Mike Potanin.

Upon tabulating the scores, Mr. Willie Teacher announced the winners as follows.  The top two finishers will move on to compete in the NYC ESU Branch Shakespeare Competition, with the ultimate possibility of participating in the national competition in New York City later this spring. Congratulations to all!

First place – Madeline Zuckerman
Second place – Amanda Mooney
Third Place – Mike Potanin
Fourth place – Morgan O’ Halloran
Fifth place – Hadassah Henderson