Adams High School senior earns spot in national Shakespeare competition

Author: Borlik, Kathy

Posted in The South Bend Tribune on Sunday, March 13


Paul Ferguson recently won the English Speaking Union (ESU) State Shakespeare Monologue Competition in Indianapolis. For his great skill, he will be heading to the national competition in New York City, at Lincoln Center. Good golly — that’s huge.

Paul is a senior at Adams High School in South Bend and he is the son of Tim Ferguson.

He is a member of the Robinson Learning Center’s Shakespeare Company and has participated in the University of Notre Dame’s Shakespeare theater.

His monologue for the competition was from “Henry VI, Part 3.” It is apparently quite the piece. When asked if he would present a snippet of the monologue that would be familiar to bystanders, he said it wasn’t one of Shakespeare’s most quotable pieces.

For the national contest, he will do the monologue, a sonnet and a piece that is chosen for him.

Paul is coached by Christy Burgess, Shakespeare outreach director at the Robinson Center, and her husband, Scott Jackson, director of Shakespeare at Notre Dame.

Scott said that Paul is a special young performer. “We’re very close to him. We’ve been with him every step of the way.”

Scott said he will be working with Paul on the cold reading — “to be open to rhythms and the heartbeats” of different plays.

Paul said he has been with the Robinson Center company for about eight years. “The center called and said they were starting the program and wondered if I wanted to be involved.” He was less than enthusiastic, but his father thought it was a good idea. The rest is history.

Paul and another Adams student, Brian LeBron Williams, were featured in the video “Much Ado After School,” which was one of the films entered in the Notre Dame Student Film Festival in 2015. The film won the Audience Choice Award.

“To be honest, reading Shakespeare is not fun,” Paul said. “But performing it is magical. Where else can you be a murderer? You never get that chance.”

He plans to be at IU Bloomington next fall to study theater.

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