Much ado about learning in the North Hills School District
By Dona S. Dreeland
Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 10:54 a.m.
Think Shakespeare, and what words come to mind?
Difficult — confusing — irrelevant — fun?
Many students in the North Hills School District would agree with those assessments of The Bard of Avon as they prepare for the Pittsburgh Public Theater's Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest on March 20 at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown.
Students in all grade levels worked with drama coaches from the Pittsburgh Public Theater at North Hills High School on staging, interaction and emoting.
Heather Walter and Tyler Schmitt, North Hills Junior High School eighth-graders from Ross, will participate in the contest for the fourth and fifth times, respectively.
“It was really fun,” said Tyler, 14. “We made it to the finals twice.”
This year, they'll present Act 2, Scene 1 from “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”
“I'm basically chasing him and getting him to love me,” said Heather, 13.
Tyler's and Heather's parents, and Doris Stupka, a district librarian who got them interested in Shakespeare, help them rehearse twice weekly.
“After you get into it, it's easier,” Tyler said. “It's harder to pick up at first. Then, it makes sense.”
Elijah Gass, 18, of Ross and a senior at North Hills Senior High School, is entering the competition for the first time. He attended the PPT session to rehearse the “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech from “Julius Caesar” on the auditorium stage under the gaze of Ron Siebert, an actor with 40 years of experience in local, Broadway and regional theater.
“How are you swaying the crowd?” he asked Gass. “What do you want the crowd to do?”
“ ‘Julius Caesar' was the Shakespeare play I read when I was learning to appreciate his works,” he said, adding that Mark Anthony's monologue is especially appealing.
“I liked how he would play on words. I like to make puns.”
Eighth-graders Joe Kelly and Alexandra Gray, and seventh-grader Meredith Madill, all 13 and from Ross, worked on their scene from “Twelfth Night.”
“Basically, it's about two drunk guys hitting on a girl,” said Joe, who, with Alexandra, will compete for the first time. Meredith has performed in the scene competition twice before.
This year, she'll test herself in the monologue portion.
Heather, who hopes to be in the monologue competition next year, said she relishes the competition.
“Once you get on stage, all the nerves go away,” she said.
“Then, you think, ‘This is what I worked for.' It's a good experience.”
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cool Springs owner plans ambitious revival
- Giant Eagle combines ‘best of both worlds’
- Dormont bumps up parking enforcement
- North Side filmmaker returns to alma mater OLSH a success
- Local shops around Western Pa. vie for share of holiday jingle
- Painter Yawor produces portraits of killed military personnel
- High school ensembles to perform at Allegheny County Courthouse
- Ross officials debate cutting insurance
- Brownsville, Broughton realignment, planned for decades, improves flow
- Young Achiever: Everitt D. Meer