Hillcrest wins Shakespeare title for third year
All 48 members of Hillcrest High School’s Shakespeare team played a part in the school’s third straight sweepstakes title and sixth straight ensemble win at the 36th Annual Utah Shakespearean High School competition, Oct. 5-6.
However, this year’s marks were even sweeter to director Josh Long.
“We got straight superior ratings from all the judges on our ensemble performance of ‘Richard II,’” Long said. “I’m so proud of these students. They totally stepped up to learn so much and be passionate about what they were doing. It’s where all 48 kids contributed to the performance; they worked as a team and supported each other.”
Junior Sam Spainhower, who played King Richard, was named Best Actor in an Ensemble Scene. He was awarded a trophy and a Larry Lott Acting Scholarship for the Best Actor in an Ensemble Scene.
“We did our ensemble a little different than what we’ve traditionally done. We took the last scene where the king is in the tower prison and had him relive his memories to almost haunt him,” Long said. “We had a cellist (junior Nathan Guertler) accompany the performance and it was really effective.”
In other competitions, junior Nate Morley performed a monologue from “King Henry V” and took second place. Senior Linda Smith won third place in a monologue for her portrayal of the Dutchess of Glouchester in “Richard II” and senior Becca Ashton took fourth place for her role of Mistress Quickly in “King Henry IV, Part II.”
Junior Makayla Conner and senior Tyler Emeney performed in a duo piece from “Cymbeline” and senior Roscoe Ashurst-McGee, junior Riley Richards and senior Molly Van Englehoven competed in a trio from “King Hentry VI, Part 3.”
“After rereading the plays again this summer, I picked out pieces that I thought would do well at competition, but aren’t performed often,” Long said. “Then several students worked on the scenes with eight members of our alumni who returned to help coach. Those who won (a part) got the opportunity to perform at the Shakespeare competition. However, everyone in the Shakespeare team performed together as part of our winning ensemble.”
Long added that the school also took an eight-member stage crew to compete in Shakespeare’s Tech Olympics.
“Our whole Shakespeare team could cheer on these kids as they competed. It was really exciting and awesome,” he said.
Junior Caleb Larsen won first place in the rigging competition. He hung a window from the rafters in a matter of seconds, making sure it was secure and even.
“We don’t even have to rig a ton in our productions, but he mastered it,” Long said.
Senior Cory Goates, who usually performs on stage and helps backstage, won first place in the carpentry division by creating a flat by attaching fabric to wood.
Long said that Cory was awarded a bonus for his professional craftsmanship.
“I love the Shakespeare festival,” Long said. “Every year, the kids do their best work and have a blast learning and doing it.”