Olivia Mullen ducked into a Red Bank store to get out of the wind so she could recite a bit of the Bard for redbankgreen earlier this week.
By DANIELLE TEPPER
As Olivia Mullen knows, the works of William Shakespeare are a fundamental component of any acting students growth as a performer. The Red Bank Catholic junior has shared passions for drama and music, and to her ear, Shakespeare embodies both.
Shakespeares work is beautiful,” she told redbankgreen this week. “It comes to me almost like a song. Im not nervous performing it.”
Each year, high school teachers across the country select two students from their theater classes to audition. In Monmouth County, 15 schools were represented at the regional branch competition at Brookdale Community College, where Mullen took first place.
I didnt even expect to be chosen to compete, said Mullen, 17, of Middletown. And then I wound up going to New York.
That night, everyone just wanted to talk, said Mullen. We were sleeping nine to a room with bunk beds, and everyone was so interested because we were all from different places, but we had a 5 a.m. wake-up call. It was exhausting, but amazing.
I picked a sonnet that wasnt recommended because its a bit tricky and complex,” said Mullen. “But Im glad I chose 36 because no one else did it, and there were a lot of repeats.”
While she may not have won the grand prize (a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Young Actors Summer School in London), Mullen said the entire experience had a significant impact on her future plans.
“Im definitely going to pursue acting, and most schools want some background in Shakespeare,” she said. “Its a hard skill to acquire, but its important to appreciate it.
I have a passion for both, so Id be happy either way, she said.