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August Wilson Press

Bronx teen thespians took to the stage to learn about renowned playwright August Wilson’s work 
Fordham High School for the Arts students compete in first round of monologue competition

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2013 By Jennifer H. Cunningham
  
QUEENS'S STARS OF THE SPOKEN WORD
 
by Kaitlin Ahern February 20, 2013
 
Students of Hillcrest High School competed in LeAp's August Wilson Monologue Competition and three students will advance to compete in LeAp's NYC-wide competition at Manhattan's MMAC Theater on March 6.
Nearly two dozen students from the Fordham High School for the Arts competed in the first round of the August Wilson Monologue Competition on Wednesday, the first leg of a national contest that teaches students about the African-American Pulitzer Prize winner’s life and literature.
 
Students performed two-to-three minute monologues in front of their peers and judges inside the theater at the school. They acted out scenes tackling issues such as fractured relationships, race, poverty and gender differences.
 
“The whole purpose of the program is to celebrate August Wilson, his life, his work and his legacy,” said Alice Krieger, the associate executive director for LeAp, or Learning through an Expanded Arts Program, which hosted the competition.
 
First place winner Jealyn Bisono, 15, perfomed an intense, stirring monologue as the character Vera, from the play Seven Guitars. Bisono said she’d never heard of August Wilson before, but after reading some of his work, she chose the monologue, where the character bemoans a lover who abandoned her for another woman, and drew from a personal experience for it. “I started to connect with it,” said Bisono, who wants to act professionally. “I felt her anger. I kind of connected to it more, because my grandfather left my grandmother.”
 
All participating students received a Certificate of Achievement from LeAp. Courtesy LeAp
  
On Feb. 7, a dozen students at Hillcrest High School competed in a preliminary round of LeAp’s August Wilson Monologue Competition, one of the six school competitions that are included in the contest.
 
Three winners from each of those six schools will advance to LeAp’s NYC-wide competition at Manhattan’s MMAC Theater on March 6 to compete for cash prizes and the chance to advance to the national round of the competition.
 
Students at Hillcrest performed two- to three-minute monologues of their choosing from the Century Cycle series of plays by the internationally renowned African-American playwright August Wilson. Judges ranked them based on energy and physical presentation, lines and memorization, characterization and emotional connectedness, vocal presentation and projection, and understanding of the text. Three students came out on top: Nile Granger, Adonis Martinez, and Amanda Morris. Marie Morrero was chosen as the alternate.
  
  
WINNER Jealyn Bisono in a monologue competition Wednesday at the Fordham High School for the Arts.
  
  
The judges said it was hard to choose a winner because the students so deftly dealt with the material.
 
“It wasn’t easy, because everyone did an amazing job,” Channie Waites, a director, actor and educator said, adding that the students showed “a strong understanding of the emotional life of the texts.”
 
Fellow judge Alex Grubbs, an actor and producer, agreed.
“The material is very heavy, emotionally,” Grubbs said. “I was very impressed with their ability to connect.”
 
Wednesday’s three winners will advance to the to a city-wide competition next month against winners from five other high schools. That round’s winners will compete in the national competition in May at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.
 
jcunningham@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/budding-actors-august-wilson-article-1.1257135#ixzz2KzQJ7XYj
 
Link: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/budding-actors-august-wilson-article-1.1257135?localLinksEnabled=false
  
Amanda Morris is one of the finalists who will advance to the citywide competition. Courtesy LeAp 
  
  
The competition “is a learning experience,” said Morris, who recently moved to Queens from Jamaica. “Learning about a playwright—it makes you get more into theater, you want to get more in depth. You want to learn more, you want to do more.”
 
The competition, created five years ago by the nonprofit LeAp (Learning through an Expanded Arts Program), is the result of a year-long program led by LeAp’s theater professionals in which students explore Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle and examine important social issues and historical events related to the 20th century African-American experience. As part of the program, students attend a theater performance and meet with professional actors, directors, and designers.
 
Finalists from the NYC-wide competition advance to the National August Wilson Competition on May 6 at the August Wilson Theatre in Manhattan to compete against students from other cities. Other schools competing in the citywide competition include Repertory Company High School for the Theater Arts, Edward R. Murrow High School, Marta Valle Secondary School, Fordham High School for the Arts, and Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School.
 
Link: http://queens.nymetroparents.com/article/hillcrest-high-school-students-in-queens-advance-in-monologue-competition

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Four winners in Wilson monologue competition Hillcrest High School students act out scenes written by playwright
  

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Bronx News Roundup, Feb. 7
 
February 7, 2013 By Will Speros
 
Welcome back to the latest edition of the Bronx News Roundup. These are the stories we’re following on Thursday, Feb. 7.
 
 
Jealyn Bisono, 15, beat out two dozen other students at Fordham High School for the Arts for first place in the school’s round of the August Wilson Monologue Competition.  The national competition seeks to educate African American students on the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright.  She will advance to the city-wide competition next month, Daily News reports.
PHOTO BY ANNMARIE COSTELLA
The August Wilson monologue competition winners are Marie Morerro, left, Adonis Martinez, Nile Granger and Amanda Morris.
  
  
A lucky 13 students from Hillcrest High in Jamaica showed off their acting chops by reciting monologues from the plays of August Wilson during a competition held at the school on Feb.
 
The winners will go on to a citywide contest and if they pass that round, on to a national competition. Prizes include scholarships, cash and a collection of August Wilson’s plays.
 
Wilson’s writing career included a series of 10 plays, each set in a different decade, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century. And although the participants were too young to remember the times they were re-enacting, they were not inhibited in giving stellar performances.
 
The winners were Adonis Martinez, 18, who portrayed Caesar; Nile Granger, 17, as Citizen; and Amanda Morris, 18, as Black Mary, all from “Gem of the Ocean.” The alternate was Marie Morrero, 17, who portrayed Tonya from “King Hedley II.”
 
“There’s no time to be nervous,” Martinez said. “You just have to focus on the scene and get into the moment.”
 
Other participants in the competition were Arun Seoparsan, Jamel Graham, Holly Surujpaul, Omar Gill, Kahleel Barret, Karrone Mills, Jazmin Lopez, Crystal Wallen and Kevin Corredor.
 
The contest is part of the August Wilson Program by LEAP, which stands for Learning through an Expanded Arts Program. Led by theater professionals, the year-long learning experience helps students explore social and historical events as presented in Wilson’s plays.
 
Morris said the role of Black Mary really spoke to her, and she could identify with the character’s struggle. Mary was a housekeeper who performed many duties for her boss Esther, who was never satisfied. One day Mary snaps and tells her boss how she really feels.
 
“She was standing up for herself for the first time in her life,” Morris explained.
 
Morrero chose one of the most poignant moments in King Hedley II, a monologue in which the character of Tonya talks about terminating her pregnancy because she does not want to bring another child into a violent world to live in poverty.
 
“I don’t have kids, but I feel very close to my younger sister,” Morrero said. “I’m very protective of her. I can understand when Tonya talks about young people not respecting life. Just look at the crime that happens every day.”
 
Link: http://www.qchron.com/editions/eastern/four-winners-in-wilson-monologue-competition/article_99e1f4c9-77da-54ae-8c8e-0083b309a6bf.html
  

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August Wilson Comes To Life In Queens Through Student Monologue Competition
  
On February 7, 2013, 13 students from Hillcrest High School will compete in the August Wilson Monologue Competition at their school, marking the first of six school competitions that are part of LeAp’s August Wilson Program. Three winners from each of six schools will advance to LeAp’s NYC competition on March 6th to compete for cash prizes, and the chance to advance to the National Competition on May 6th at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway involving seven major cities. Other schools competing in the citywide competition include Repertory Company High School for the Theater Arts, Edward R. Murrow High School, Marta Valle Secondary School, Fordham High School for the Arts, and Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School.
 
Link: http://www.qgazette.com/news/2013-01-30/Front_Page/August_Wilson_Comes_To_Life_In_Queens_Through_Stud.html

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