Claire Glover ’16 jumped onto a table in Upper Right of Paresky Commons during her Junior year and performed Puck’s Monologue from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in front her classmates. Glover recalled this moment to The Phillipian as a moment that helped her overcome her nerves. A few days later she won the Shakespeare recitation competition at Phillips Academy Andover and advanced to the Shakespeare recitation State Regional Championship.
“I had really bad stage fright at that point in my life,” Glover said. “So of course I said no [to my friend] at first, but he’s a very persuasive person… and it ended up being so good for me, I feel so at ease now in front of people.”
The Shakespeare competition occurs annually on Andover’s campus. Participants are required to memorize a Shakespearean monologue and sonnet, which they perform for seven judges, comprised of teachers from Andover’s Department of English. The winner proceeds to the state regional championship, and if successful, to the state championship.
Glover has managed to advance to the state regional championship each year during her time at Andover. In her Lower year, she even earned second place in the Massachusetts state championship.
“It’s not supposed to be just reciting Shakespeare. It’s more about your understanding of what [the monologue is] about,” said Glover.
“You sort of get to know the context of your monologue, you decide how to say the words, what emotions you want to portray and how you want to bring yourself into it,” continued Glover.
Glover said that her appreciation of Shakespeare stems from reading and watching Shakespeare plays at a young age with her father.
“The biggest thing I take away from [Shakespeare] isn’t necessarily something about his work, but more about my relationship with my Dad,” said Glover.
“It’s just one of those things that signifies my childhood, growing up with him and him sharing everything he loved with me, including Shakespeare.”
Glover said that her love of reading and watching Shakespeare’s work has led her to other artistic passions, such as acting and poetry.
“My interest for Shakespeare shapes whatever else I do, [for example] I love history… and learning so I went through a phase where I learned everything I could about Shakespeare. I also love English… and reading Shakespeare, and that sort of translated to me understanding how to put my words on paper to write poetry,” said Glover.
During her Junior and Upper years, Glover continued her passion for Shakespeare by performing in two Shakespeare productions, “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Twelfth Night,” the latter, directed by Kevin Heelan, Instructor in Theatre, being her favorite. Glover played Feste the Clown and enjoyed acting with her friends, as well as being able to both sing and dance in the show.
“I really appreciate the words [in a Shakespeare play]. You know that you’re working with really good quality script,” Glover said. “I also loved watching Mr. Heelan say, ‘We’re going to do this scene this way.Okay, now we’re going to try it a different way,’ because I really think there’s a lot of room for interpretation in Shakespeare and I think that’s what makes [Shakespeare] so wonderful.”
While Glover appreciates other pieces of literature, she believes that Shakespeare expresses human emotions in a distinctly relatable way, while also sounding pleasant when read aloud.
“Shakespeare captures the human spirit in a really good way. The humor in [his work] is very relatable hundreds of years later and same with the heartache, the pain and the death. And there’s something about the way it sounds. When I write poetry, I always think about reading out loud and how it would sound out loud or how it would be if you performed it, and Shakespeare was probably thinking that when he was writing too,” said Glover.