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'Performing the Bard' - a student's reflection on the challenges of bringing Shakespeare's words to life

20 May 2016

Recently, our students took part in the William Shakespeare Global Theatre Challenge, as part of the NAE Global Campus. One of our year 7 students did Regents proud and took home a prize for his performance of Caliban from The Tempest. Here, Cooper talks about the process involved in prepapering a piece of Shakespeare for performance.

  • Caliban from 'The Tempest', KS3 drama production 2016. Regents International School Pattaya
  • Caliban from 'The Tempest', KS3 drama production 2016. Regents International School Pattaya

It was very challenging learning a Shakespeare monologue due to the different language used.

I rehearsed my monologue lines by myself, while watching videos of how the monologue was produced in the film, and how the Caliban behaved/acted while reproducing this scene. I firstly acted out what I thought the Caliban was doing in the monologue, then, I watched videos and changed my act. I memorized my lines by repeating them over and over again. While I was acting, the words came to my head and helped me remember them. 

I did not receive any help from my parents and friends, however I felt that I was confident in the Caliban role that I portrayed, and knew that I learned my monologue well; ready to perform!

I found the filming process for the monologue very straightforward, however very helpful, as Ms Hullock helped me perfect my character with some extra details that affected the monologue usefully. Together, we chose a scenery that suited the Caliban monologue, comparing it to the scene in the movie. We then considered how I could move around the area, keeping the audience engaged. We made the camera be Prospero, seeing the Caliban react in her/his eyes.

I found engaging with the Caliaban’s character quite challenging. In the monologue that I performed, Caliban is very angry at Prospero; releasing his anger very powerfully. However, he also showed a slight caring and loving motion. This was hard for me to portray to separately different emotions, particularly in expressing anger. I am not an angry person that gets mad a lot, therefore, I had to push harder to capture the watcher’s attention with expressing something that is completely opposite to me as a person.

I picked a monologue from the Caliban’s character because I am performing the Caliban role in a recent school production of The Tempest. I thought that I could gain more knowledge and understanding of the Caliban if I entered the competition and did one of his monologues. I also chose a Caliban monologue because, in The Tempest production’s script, there were already parts of his famous monologues; which would make it easier for me to memorize!

Once I was offered the opportunity to compete in this competition, I knew that I should definitely audition. I always liked drama and acting, and figured that this was a time to showcase what I am capable of. I was also very confident as I was recently informed at the time that I was chosen to play the Caliban part in The Tempest production. When I was informed that I was representing Regents International School Pattaya, I was Thrilled and beyond happy that I had won. When I was informed that I came third place in the competition I was stunned. I was especially excited because the competition was globally, with participants from all Nord Anglia schools. I am super happy that I chose to audition for the competition, and I did a good job doing it!