Even though Oak Parker Alexandria Frisch has been performing the monologue that led her to the National Shakespeare Competition for a while now, she still gets nervous before performing it.
And she’s OK with that.
Picked for her as part of the Acting Abroad theater training program in Cherbourg in the Normandy region of France, the monologue from Act IV, Scene 15 of The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, in which Cleopatra laments over Mark Antony’s dead body, is something she must connect with, she said.
“My Shakespeare teacher assigned it to me and felt like it fit me, and I fell in love with it,” she said. “It’s important to me, I know how connected it can be to my emotions. Every performance of the monologue scares me, because what if this is one of the times I can’t connect. Hopefully, being close to home will make this a time when I can really connect.”
As for the sonnet, it was picked once she realized she needed to perform one as part of the regional English-Speaking Union’s Chicago Branch Competition of the Shakespeare contest.
She had a week to choose, but Frisch said she’s not the biggest fan of Shakespeare’s sonnets. So she decided to pick one of her mother’s favorites: Sonnet 54.
Frisch chose well — she won that competition and traveled to New York City for the national finals in May. She placed in the top ten out of 57 competitors.
In celebration of that achievement, the is honoring her before Sunday’s performance of Henry V in , beginning at 6:30 p.m. Following a special presentation by Director Kevin Theis, Frisch will perform her winning monologue and sonnet.
Additionally, the senior will perform as Portia in a scene from The Merchant of Venice alongside OPRF 2011 graduate Tam Dickson as Nerissa.
Frisch’s acting career began at the age of four, when she began classes at Oak Park’s Village Players, now the . Since then, she’s acted in productions including To Kill a Mockingbird, Flowers for Algernon, The Women, The Crucible and Rabbit Hole, with the Village Players, Eclipse Theatre Company and OPRF. She recently completed Brown University’s TheatreBridge 2011 summer acting program as well.
After graduating next May, the AP honors and Dean’s List student said she wants to attend college for theater and English.
“I’d like to become an English teacher one day, but I’d also like to stay involved in [the theater] community,” Frisch said. “We’ll see. If I end up on the east coast, I might spend a year in New York seeing if I can get work.”
However, Frisch said, she still loves the Chicago theater community. In fact, she’s beginning her fourth year as a member of Steppenwolf Theatre’s Young Adult Council.
“The Chicago theater community is a very extensive community with ample opportunity,” she said, “with productions that are world renowned.”
Despite her extensive list of accomplishments so far, Frisch still has a while to go before she can play her dream role in her favorite production, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
“Martha is my dream role,” she said, “but I have to wait a good fifty years.”