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Shakespeare Competition Helps ITC Students Prepare for Their Future

This is a photo of ITC students who participated in a Shakespeare Competition, standing and smiling with the adults who served as judges of the competition.“Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying, and now I’ll do ‘t.”
ITC junior Caleb Bateman recites his monologue – part of Act 3, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
“It was a hard choice because of my limited knowledge of Shakespeare,” Caleb explained. “I really liked the story of this scene… how Hamlet is so conflicted about killing his uncle. There’s just so much chaos! He’s holding it in and has the power to end it all… but he chooses not to. That has to take so much self-control.”
Thanks to the English-Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition, a group of ITC students performed in front of professional actors who served as judges. Each student performed a monologue they had selected, memorized, and rehearsed. Caleb, the top scoring performer in his school, qualified to participate in the regional competition at Syracuse Stage this March. There, competing against students from 20-30 other high schools statewide, he’ll work to again take first – which would place him en route to New York City, where he’d compete in the nationals, fighting for the opportunity to travel to England and perform at the famed Globe Theatre.
“I grew up doing theater, but this was my first time really experiencing Shakespeare,” he shared. “I’ve only ever really performed in schools or churches, so the opportunity to be on an actual stage – here or in London – is so fun. I’ve had the thought that if I can make it past Syracuse Stage, I could really keep going with this.”
Caleb said he ultimately hopes to become a pastor one day, but can already see the ways theater will improve his ability to connect with people and engage them in a message he’s trying to convey. He noted that the judges told him to understand the power of stillness and how, if used properly, even the smallest movement can convey great meaning.
ITC senior Ella Bosco has different ambitions: she hopes to attend college to study theater or music, with the goal of ultimately becoming a teacher in the performing arts field. In last year’s Shakespeare Competition, she performed a monologue from As You Like It – something fun and light, she recalled. This year, she tried for something on the opposite end of the acting spectrum: playing Brutus from Julius Caesar.
“One of the judges commended me because I walked into the performance so bubbly, and then as soon as I started performing, I turned that off and got right into character – dark, serious,” Ella explained. “This character was getting ready to kill his best friend! I choose this scene [Act 2, Scene 1] because Brutus was so conflicted with himself. That stood out to me. Understanding Shakespeare isn’t easy – so I used a website to help translate the monologue into more modern language. Once I had the concept down, it was all about repetition, repetition, repetition! I watched YouTube videos of actors performing the scene… the key was hearing the words over and over and then adding my own elements to it. Ultimately, this is the opportunity of a lifetime!”
ITC Music and Drama Teacher Victoria King said that ultimately, the benefits of students’ participation extend far beyond acting – noting that past Shakespeare Competition participants have gone on to become lifelong friends – or even college roommates! Congratulations to all of the students who took advantage of the opportunity to participate in this unique competition!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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