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Murray Journal

Murray High Shakespeare Team Earns Superior Marks

Nov 06, 2015 09:51AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama

The 17 members of Murray High’s Shakespearean ensemble got superior ratings from the Utah Shakespeare Competition for their re-enactments in the fifth act of “Richard III,” when the ghosts come back to haunt him.

The 39th annual Shakespeare Competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University and held Oct. 1-3, allowed high school students from around the nation a chance to present material from Shakespearean literature in various artistic forms, and to be judged by professionals in their fields.

“We could pick from any Shakespeare piece for our ensemble, which needed at least four actors to perform the scene that was six to 10 minutes long,” Murray High theatre director Will Saxton said. “The judging focuses on the acting, not the scenery, costumes or props.”

In addition to the ensemble piece, Murray High students prepared three monologues from “Hamlet,” “Henry V” and “Merchant of Venice,” and two scenes from “Julius Caesar” and “Macbeth.”

There also were competitions for six Murray High Madrigals students, as well as in minstrel. All told, 20 Murray High students from the advanced theatre class participated in the national high school competition. Murray competes with schools whose enrollment is similar: more than 800 students, but less than 1,500 students.

The opportunity also allowed students to attend shows and workshops. Murray students saw Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” as well as the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s “Dracula.”

“I have a passion, a love for Shakespeare, and this allows our students to see the work of high school students from other schools, as well as get professional actors’ feedback. It gives us a chance to focus on learning and education,” Saxton said.

Murray theatre students also will be performing Jan. 13-15, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the 8th annual Broadway Revue, “Dream Big;” 7 p.m. on March 3-5 and March 7 in “Our Town;” March 9 in “Elephant Man;” and at 7 p.m., May 5-7 in “Twelfth Night.”