Shakespeare’s lines echo in Clark


Clark Chronicle Staff

The team that participated to the Shakespeare’s contest stood proudly after the competition. From left to right are the adviser, Teacher Jennifer Davis, the winner, junior Karina Khachaturova, senior Mika Stanghill and junior Christian de La Cruz.

Whether one likes him or not, it is illogical to deny the importance of Shakespeare in modern literature and culture. Which is why there are many activities meant to celebrate Shakespeare’s works. One such activity is the annual Shakespeare Speech Contest, a national competition organized by the English Speaking Union of United States (ESUUS).

The contest was introduced to Clark Magnet by teacher Jennifer Davis three years ago.  Participants memorize a monologue from any Shakespeare play and then recite it to a group of judges. The winner moves on to the next level, where they must recite the same monologue, plus a Shakespearean sonnet of their choice. The winner of that competes nationwide, where, besides the monologue and the sonnet, they must also give a dramatic reading of a Shakespearean piece chosen at random by the judges of the final competition.

This year, the competitors were juniors Christian De La Cruz and Karina Khachaturova and senior Mika Stanghill. Each presented speeches from Timon of Athens, The Tempest and Twelfth Night, respectively. After arriving down at the cafeteria during seventh period, the students practiced their lines. Afterwards, Davis read the rules to an audience of judges consisting of teachers Alex Day-Blattner, Diana McGrath, Carol Pettegrew and Stephanie Sajjadieh.

First was junior Karina Khachaturova, who gave a speech from the Twelfth Night, presented by a character named Viola. “Viola is a girl who acts as a man in the play,” Khachaturova said. “I found this to be a very intriguing role, especially considering my interest in acting.”

Junior Christian de la Cruz is presenting a Timon’s monologue. His loud voice and intense acting almost startled the judges.
Clark Chronicle Staff
Junior Christian de la Cruz is presenting a Timon’s monologue. His loud voice and intense acting almost startled the judges.

De La Cruz spoke next. In his presentation of Timon’s monologue, De La Cruz used sudden shifts from quiet to loud tone to express the conflict in the character of Timon. “I picked this speech because it talks of the faults in generosity,” De La Cruz said. “It’s very common for people who are generous to be taken advantage of.”

Stanghill presented last, sharing the epilogue from The Tempest. Being the only Shakespearean play to have an epilogue, and the last play to be created by Shakespeare, it acted as a farewell speech from the author to the audience. “Since this is my last year,” Stanghill said, “I found it very appropriate to present this speech.”

After all the speeches were done, the judges were went off to decide the winner. After about 10 minutes of nail-biting tension, the winners were revealed. Khachaturova took first place, De La Cruz second and Stanghill third. “I was shaking badly through the whole thing,” said Khachaturova, talking about how nervous she was. “Despite doing this for three years,” Stanghill said. “I was so nervous that the whole presentation just turned into a blur in my mind.” Despite this stress, Khachaturova now moves on to the next round, held on Feb. 20 at Marlborough High School.