The Bard Returns to Brooklyn Tech

By Kevin Adu

“Life’s but a walking shadow,” “To be, or not to be,” and “I hate the Moor” were among the many celebrated Shakespearean lines recited in the William Mack Library and Room 5N4 for a very special annual event at Brooklyn Tech.

On January 14 and 15, 2014, Brooklyn Technical High School once again held the Shakespeare Recitation Contest to determine who would receive the chance to compete in the 2014 English Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition.

Produced by the English Department, the competition not only determines who may represent the school at the national competition, but also serves the purpose of developing and strengthening students’ understanding, comprehension, and enjoyment of Shakespeare’s many works.

Andy Zheng ’15, who attended the recitation contest, said “It was cool watching people recite and act out plays that I’ve read. It certainly made certain pieces more understandable.”

A total of 58 participants stood in front of an audience of their peers and teachers and recited some of the most famous speeches and soliloquies written by the Bard, including Macbeth’s sorrowful soliloquy from Macbeth and Iago’s speech of contempt for “the Moor” in Othello. Many other wonderful plays were referenced including Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew.

On January 14, freshmen and sophomores competed in the William Mack Library in order to see which three students would get to compete with the juniors and seniors in Room 5N4 the next day.

Ultimately, the victory went to Camilo Gaitan ’14, whose emotional rendition of Petruchio’s lines in The Taming of the Shrew earned him gifts from the English Department and a place in the Branch Competition and possibly on the stage at Lincoln Center at the National Competition.

First, second, and third place prizes for the 2013 National Shakespeare Competition include, respectively, a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’s Young Actors Summer School in London, a scholarship to the American Shakespeare Center’s Theater Camp in Virginia, and $500 from the Shakespeare Society in New York.

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