2017 House Drama Challenge

This year’s drama challenge marked a significant change, as students performed ancient Greek tragedy rather than the works of William Shakespeare. Students from each house presented a scene from either Oedipus Rex by Sophocles or Medea by Euripides, both of which lie at the foundation of Western literature and are part of Westminster’s curriculum.  “Bringing nearly 2500 year old texts to life is no easy task, but all houses rose to the occasion and offered four spectacular performances,” said Conner Davis, Boniface House Master. “I find the drama challenge to be particularly enriching for our students because it allows them to engage with these works as the author intended. While much can learned from reading these plays, they are far more impactful when performed, and in doing so, our students can draw more deeply from the wisdom of ages past.”  The students were given the guideline that each interpretation should adhere to the text, but each House may alter the setting (e.g., the time period can be changed and costumes should suit the elected time period). Performances were to last between 6-10 minutes in length per house.
The judges for the challenge were local actors Lindsey Roberts and Jeff Posson, along with Westminster’s Elizabeth Perkins and Annie Petzinger. They evaluated the performances based on the following criteria:
Acting/Dramatization: appropriate pacing of dramatic elements, action builds and resolves effectively
Interpretation: memorable, persuasive; the interpretation is appropriate to the material
Voice: projection, articulation, variety, inflection well developed and conveys meaning
Delivery: reveals characters and their motivations, gestures and facial expressions seem natural to each character, delivery is unforced, well-paced, smooth, without stumbling
Stage Presence: actors convey sense of why each character is present at any moment; actors must be believable, consistent, and work together as an ensemble
Stage Movement: sense of purpose in the movements of individual characters, between characters, entrances and exits
Balance: Visual elements create a balanced “picture” throughout the play
Costumes and Props: appropriate to setting, characters, purpose
The winner was named Boniface House, 2nd place went to Columba House, 3rd place was Becket house and 4th place Athanasius House. The winning performance received 125 points for its House, 75 points were given for second place, 50 points for third place, and 25 points for fourth place.