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To win or not to win

Drama students attend annual Shakespeare festival

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To win or not to win

Students Atlee Phillips, Camryn Counsil and Maddie Kirby act in Macbeth at Chapfest

Students Atlee Phillips, Camryn Counsil and Maddie Kirby act in Macbeth at Chapfest

Atmika Iyer/Talon

Students Atlee Phillips, Camryn Counsil and Maddie Kirby act in Macbeth at Chapfest

Atmika Iyer/Talon

Atmika Iyer/Talon

Students Atlee Phillips, Camryn Counsil and Maddie Kirby act in Macbeth at Chapfest

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As Shakespeare once wrote in his play “Twelfth Night,” “be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

Oak Park High School drama students attended the annual Shakespeare festival at Chapman University on President’s Day weekend.

Participants of the festival took advantage of the day with no school and arrived the morning of Friday, February 15. The students engaged in several drama-type performances like monologues and famous scenes from William Shakespeare’s plays. About 20 high schools compete in this competition. Students are offered the opportunity to stay the weekend and attend lessons from Shakespeare experts.

“There are certain requirements and it’s judged by a talented group of Shakespeare scholars or teachers,” drama teacher Allan Hunt said. “Those judges are independent and don’t know one student from another, one school from another.”

Hunt described the different competitions students may attend.

“There are several categories: there’s a competition between scenes, Hamlet and Ophelia have a big argument, or Henry V encouraging his men, ‘Once more unto the breach,’” Hunt said. “Those are usually an entire drama department from one school who work up a scene like that. There are normally 15, 20 actors.”

The competition also offers soliloquies for individual competitors.

“That’s the serious stuff because it’s one student and he or she is doing some famous ‘To be or not to be that is the Question,’” Hunt said. “All that’s required is that it be Shakespeare.”

Though the Chapfest used to be open invitation, it now exclusively invites certain schools, including Oak Park.

“We’re on some list, I don’t know how that happened,” Hunt said. “Originally when they first started this, they had this open invitation to California schools, but we entered it and the students really loved it.”

Sophomore Ashlynn Salzwedel, who performed in “Macbeth” Act IV, Scene I, was excited to attend the competition this year.

“I’ve never done this before, and it’s exciting and new,” Salzwedel said. “We’ve been going to rehearsals and stuff, and it’s really fun.”

OPHS has experienced success in Chapfest in the past, according to Hunt.

“I’m proud to say we’ve won three years in a row. It’s such a large competition that to win is wonderful, but to win three years in a row is quite unprecedented,” Hunt said.

Senior and International Thespian Society President Navya Hari commented on his experience with Chapfest.

“Overall, the experience was amazing. We had so much free time to explore [the town of] Orange and meet other talented actors. We bonded with [Principal Kevin] Buchanan over our long car rides and laughed together,” Navya wrote to the Talon. “It was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything else”

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