Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY … Students from five local schools took part in the high school competition that Hofstra University hosts as part of its annual Shakespeare Festival, which is now in its 65th year. Since 1951 the competition has allowed younger students to perform classic scenes on the Hofstra stage. Long Island native and Tony Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy has said the high school competition gave him his first taste of theatrical success at the age of 15.
This year’s high school competition took place March 13 and 14, 2014. Students spent all day on campus and participated in workshops on stage combat, voice and speech and improv. Each participating school also performed selected scenes from Shakespearean plays for a panel of faculty members from Hofstra’s Department of Drama and Dance. Staging, lighting, costumes, music and sound were part of the presentations. The Hofstra professors then offered the students critique and advice.
At the end of both days, Hofstra faculty presented awards for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Ensemble.
Thursday, March 13
Valley Stream Central High School (pictured above)
Act IV, scene i from Much Ado About Nothing
Valley Stream received the “Best Ensemble” Award.
Division Avenue High School in Levittown
An excerpt from Act II, scene i from The Taming of the Shrew
and excerpts from Act II, scenes i and ii from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
John Genzale, who played “Petruchio” in The Taming of the Shrew, won the “Best Actor” Award for Division Avenue.
Calhoun High School in Merrick
Act V, scene iii from The Winter’s Tale
Sam Kamelhar, who played “Paulina” won the “Best Actress” Award for Calhoun.
Also on Thursday, students were asked to present their own design interpretations of The Comedy of Errors. Hofstra design faculty and current students critiqued their work and gave them feedback. Sam Kamelhar won for Best Costume Design, Best Set Design went to Jonathan Leiner. Both students are from Calhoun High School.
Friday, March 14
Wantagh High School
Act I, scene i from Romeo and Juliet
Wantagh received the “Best Ensemble” Award. They set their Romeo and Juliet in New Orleans during Mardi Gras in the 1930s.
Urban Assembly Media High School
Act II, scene iii from Titus Andronicus
Urban Assembly received awards for Best Actor – Danvill Davis, who played Aaron; and Best Actress – Kirstie Plasencia, who played “Lavinia.”