Contest Play combines drama and competition

Eugene Ko, Lifestyle Editor

Shakespeare may have written over 37 plays, but six students are on a mission to perform an abridged compilation in 40 minutes for the upcoming IHSA Drama competition.

The Glenbrook North theatre department uses “Contest Play” as an interchangeable phrase to reference the IHSA Drama competition, Julie Ann Hill, director of theatre, said in an email interview. This year, the theatre department reintroduced Contest Play as an option, after several years of only offering Group Interpretation. Both are IHSA competition events, and GBN students may choose to audition for one or both.

“Contest Play is almost like a cousin to Group Interpretation, where you take a story and sort of mold [it] into your own image of it,” said senior Ryan Currie. “But the difference is [that] we get to wear costumes [and have a set].”

Senior Rachel Genin said rehearsals are filled with cast members practicing their exaggerated accents and throwing swords at each other.

According to student director Ida Tello, Contest Play is created by cutting down a longer play into a 40-minute performance. An additional 20 minutes are allocated for the actors to set up and take down their set. This year, the GBN Contest Play actors are performing “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield.

“It’s a show about a show, about the [characters] trying to perform every single one of Shakespeare’s works,” said Currie. “We changed the script a lot because it’s a comedic script [written by] people over in Britain, so there is a lot of humor that doesn’t really make sense because we’re American.”

The IHSA Drama sectional competition is scheduled to be held on March 16 at Fremd High School. Groups will compete against each other in front of judges, and the top two performances advance to the IHSA tournament.

Despite the stress, Tello, Genin and Currie said the cast has grown closer.

“We all get along very, very well because it’s such a small cast,” said Currie. “I’m lucky enough to be with a bunch of people who are positive.”