Shakespeare drama competition : Semi- Finals draw to a close

21 September 2017 - 539   - 0

The semi-final round of the  44th installment of the Shakespeare Drama competition organised by the Colombo YMCA and the Rotary Club of Colombo North drew toa  close yesterday with the boys category.

Speaking first on behalf of the judging panel was Tracy Holsinger. She acknowledged that it was a tough competition this year. “That’s not trying to pacify anybody, but we’ve had a lot of surprises.” In terms of improvement, the judges felt that everyone could’ve improved with the sound effect. This because it kept  drowning out the actors and them having to shout out to be heard. 

“Go for lighting your actors as your main policy as opposed to anything else,”she said. 

If you’re using your stage space well and if your actors have enough space to move then you’re alright .

In terms of directing the judges observed two kinds of productions.  One where it was an ensemble cast, when everyone depended on several key actors. And the other was where it was centred on one character . “This was where we looked and directorial concepts and how well that concept was realised by the actors,”Tracy explained . 

She took Hamlet as an example, pointing out that the amount of violence used as an effect didn’t really help the judges understand the character. Tracy maintained that Hamlet  in the script is described as “grentle and noble” and his relationship with his mother and Ophelia, did not require the amount of violence which the judges saw being  expressed towards those characters. 

“This is Hamlet guys it’s not Game of Thrones. Even if it was that, Hamlet is Jon Snow not Ramsay Bolton,” Tracy chuckled. 

She added “ If something like that didn’t fit in with your overall arc it went against you . Concept is everything and we looked to see how successfully you realised that.”

Character interpretation was another key aspect which the judges looked at. It drew sixty points from the marking scheme . “We looked for a real connection of characters , real emotion and expressions from the characters, crossing this divide and actually connecting with your audience,” Tracy mentioned . She added that making the audience feel the scene, lean forward in their chairs and watch what was happening and moments that really moved them, was the key . 

“Those moments didn’t really come from the most sophisticated productions,” she said. 

Tracy ended by advising the competitors to use songs from the period from which the play is set in. “We noticed Batman theme being used for Hamlet and that was quite obvious.” 

Following Tracy was Sabrina Niles, who was also on the panel . She commented on the standard getting higher each year , adding that the professionalism and maturity showed was also growing. 

“In terms of the kind of plays you’re dealing with have very complex characters some of which the whole show rides on . These characters are not just multidimensional in a sense where they’re good and bad . But they are also simultaneity that you’re seeing. So with every move , stage direction you see multiple things happening,” she began. 

Sabrina added that these characters had a lot going on and some of the contestants portrayed that .” Very complex characters that had a lot of subtleties and nuances and some of you picked up on that.” 

She also acknowledged that there was a lot of thinking, intelligence and conceptualising that went into the really good plays 

The Boy’s school Finals will take place on Saturday (September 30) at the Bishop’s College Auditorium . Tickets will be available at the Auditorium starting Tuesday . The girls finals will be held on Sept 29, 2017


Individual awards  - Boys Schools

Best stage craft - D.S Senanayake College 

Best novice school - Vidura College, Hokandara

Best supporting actor - Polonius  - Lakshita Edirisinghe 

Best actor - Hamlet - Haseeb Hassen 


Schools in the final 

 Maris Stella College

 DS Senanayake 

 Wesley College 

Ananda College

Images from the competition -


Awards (Girls Schools)

  • Best Stage Craft - Bishop’s College
  • Best Novices Girls School - Seventh Day Adventist High School, Kandana
  • Best Supporting Actress - Poshia Hettiarachchi from Gateway College (Kandy) for her role as Volumnia in ‘Coriolanus’
  • Best Actress - A tie between Hasini Dissanayake from Devi Balika Vidyalay for her role as Helena in a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Yalindi Ratnapala from Visakha Vidyalaya for her role as Ophelia in ‘Hamlet’. 


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