Acting class takes on the Bard
Last Monday, February 6th, Keystone Oaks acting students and their teacher, Ms. Kraemer, went downtown to compete in the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Shakespeare Monologue and Scene Contest to further encourage students in the arts.
Ms. Kraemer has previously taken students to this same organization, and she continued the tradition.
“I want students to learn to appreciate Shakespeare and become more confident in theatrical performance,” Kraemer said.
Kraemer claims to “love Shakespeare and his language,” and she was glad to see that students shared her passion.
Senior, Zach McKay, stated that he was “... impressed with the stage. The scenery was set up for the actual Shakespeare play, which gave it a more professional setting.”
All of the students had heard about the organization through Ms. Kraemer and chose to compete because they believed it would be fun and expand their horizons, regarding the field of acting. After previously participating in a poetry contest, senior MacKenzie Kirsch stated that this one was a bit more professional, but at the same time more of a relaxed experience than she expected. She also said that the most challenging aspect was “memorizing my lines because they are super long.”
This was the first time entering an event of this nature for McKay, as well as fellow senior, Christian Barker, but McKay said that the experience was similar to college auditions that he’s been on. Barker has high expectations for his performance at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, and states that his goals are to “... become a finalist in the competition.”
However, Kraemer put little pressure on her students, and stated that her only intentions are for the competitors “... to perform their monologue or scene to the best of their ability. The most rewarding part of this is watching the students perform on stage.”
The most challenging part for her was “... worrying about if people were prepared or not.”
Kirsch advised any incoming acting students to, “memorize your lines more than a day beforehand, and do not slack off.”
Barker feels that the only downside to this event is “... not being able to compete in it next year.”
McKay, who plans on pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in college, encourages students considering taking an Intro to Acting, or other theater-related course at Keystone Oaks, to do it, and to “... really take the time to absorb the information, and find ways in which you yourself can benefit from it. But most importantly, to just have fun.”
Kramer agreed with that statement, and added that, “These courses can create confidence in students in the theater and arts, as well as other areas where they might have to give a speech or oral presentation.”
Kraemer regrets that theater-focused courses have not always been a priority in the district’s curriculum, and hopes that, through outside events like the Shakespeare Contest, we can continue to encourage participation in, as well as appreciation of, the arts.