LAHAINA - Shakespeare lives on at Lahainaluna High School, proven by students participating in the school's annual Shakespeare Monologue Competition held in January.
A strong field of five friendly competitors clearly supported each other as they presented their selected monologue of up to 20 lines from the works of the prolific playwright.
Gaylord Paul Garcia, a member of the junior class at LHS, provided a winner's rendition of Lady Macbeth from "Macbeth," garnering top honors in this year's event held on campus.
Gathered together following the Lahainaluna High School Shakespeare Monologue Competition held in the school’s library are (from left) Carly Bierman, Aviva Tualemoso, Bailey Pendergast, ‘Ute Finch, Christian Rocha, Gaylord Paul Garcia, Katherine Cloutier, AnnMarie Wilder, Mark LeDoux and Lagilagialeaso Galoai.
Second place went to Christian Rocha performing as Shylock from "The Merchant of Venice," and third place was awarded to Bailey Pendergast for her role as Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew."
Rounding out the five were Lagilagialeaso Galoai and Carly Bierman.
Garcia's win gives him an opportunity to participate in the state finals of the competition sponsored by the Hawaii Branch of the English Speaking Union.
Contestants will be required to present their monologue and a selected sonnet from memory at the event on Oahu.
That winner receives an all-expense-paid weekend to compete at the national level in New York City.
At LHS, English teacher Aviva Tualemoso is the advisor for the newly formed Drama Club. Tualemoso was instrumental in making the event possible, since Dramatic Arts is not available as a class elective at the school this year.
After-school meetings were held with the added coaching assistance of Katherine Cloutier, whose services were again provided through Theatre Theatre Maui (TTM).
Tualemoso noted, "I really appreciated watching these kids as they came in for the first time reading their monologues like new deer trying out wobbly legs. To watch them grow, mature and become confident in their performances in such a short time was truly an inspirational process."
Rocha has participated all four years as a student at LHS, and Garcia followed that trend for his third.
Pendergast, a newcomer to this event, said, "I really enjoyed my time during the contest. Shakespeare has always been such a passion of mine, so to be able to compete in a contest all about Shakespeare was truly amazing."
This year, the contest was held in conjunction with the school's Parent Information Night (PIN) meeting at the school library, which was attended by about 100 family members, school staff and PTSA members.
Judges 'Ute Finch, Mark LeDoux and AnnMarie Wilder are 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.
Wilder commented, "I am so proud that here in Maui, in the 21st century, we have high school students who are willing to stop texting, put their cell phones down and learn Shakespeare."
A life-sized Shakespeare book served as the backdrop, and while the judges recorded their notes between each delivery, Tualemoso capably shared her insight with the audience about the selected monologues, the participants and the program.
All participants received a certificate of achievement for their efforts. As a gift from Theatre Theatre Maui, Rocha and Pendergast each received "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare," and Garcia, having received this book last year for his second place award, received a Barnes & Noble gift card.
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.
For more information regarding TTM, call 661-1168 or e-mail TTMWestMaui@aol.com.