One thing that Jamesville-DeWitt High School does not lack is talent, and this year’s Shakespeare Competition showed just how much J-D has to offer. The three top winners were senior Owen Fleet, who placed third, senior Jenna Law, who placed second, and the junior Anka Chiorini, who won first place. Chiorini has actually won the competition at the school level three years in a row. Chiorini clearly has a passion for performing Shakespeare, and she is even planning on assisting in the direction of the spring play, Macbeth, by Shakespeare himself. She truly has a clear gift in showing her skills of interpreting the amazing works of William Shakespeare.
Chiroini continued her winning streak this year by working hard. To prepare for the competition, Chirorini had to prepare a monolog from any Shakespeare play. She chose to perform the Jailer’s Daughter monologue from Act 2, Scene 4 of The Two Noble Kinsmen. Chiorini says, “Once I had chosen a monologue, my preparation was really just memorizing it and running it over and over again to figure out what felt most natural for the character.” The competition is more centered around creating a character, not simply memorizing and reciting a monologue, which can create some challenges when preparing for it. Chiorini discusses how she didn’t want her monologue to be too aggressive or pushy, but rather more vulnerable and endearing. The monologue, she states, is easy to be done for laughs, but she wanted it to be a little bit softer. With it being her third year entered in the competition, she had to keep up her reputation and impress the judges. Like the Poetry Out Loud competition, this one is judged by teachers from J-DHS. Chiorini states, “We performed in a separate room from the judges, so I didn’t really give the fact that I was performing for teachers much thought.” Chiorini shows a great level of professionalism and poise. Being the winner of the school competition, she now moves on to the regional competition, where she will complete her monologue once again, as well as perform one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
The second-place winner, senior Jenna Law, has shown so much talent so far this year. Law already placed second in the Poetry Out Loud competition and has demonstrated a passion for reciting different forms of literature. The skills that she possesses put her in a leading position, as she shows J-D how much effort she is willing to put in. She discusses how she actually had her monologue already prepared because of a class she is taking, so she didn’t find the preparation process very difficult.
“Another important part of the preparation was the analysis of the monologue. It is important to understand it and what the character is saying so that you can thoughtfully portray the story or message,” Law states. She describes that it was difficult to find her character, mostly because it wasn’t a well-known monologue. She decided to perform as Marina from Pericles, in Act 4, Scene 1. She shows clear potential in her ability to perform Shakespearean literature, and she got great feedback from her AP Literature classmates. Law says, “In my AP Literature class, we had performed a monologue, and I really enjoyed it. According to my peers and Mr. Phillips, I performed well, so I wanted to give the competition a try and I’m glad I did.” Law truly is gifted at performing and we are so excited for her to share her talents in the future.
Overall, this year’s Shakespeare Competition was not disappointing at all. There were many amazing performances, especially from the top three winners. The J-D community should continue to be impressed with the incredible persistence and dedication that the students have. We wish Anka Chiorini great success in the next level of the competition and can’t wait to see how her third year in the competition plays out.