FRONT ROYAL — Warren County High School junior Bailey Ontiveros won a regional Shakespeare competition on Saturday held at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton.
The state theatre competition featured public and private school students performing parts and monologues from Shakespeare’s works. Ontiveros will travel to New York at the end of April to compete at the national competition, where the winner will have the opportunity to travel to England this summer and study Shakespeare.
“I feel really good,” she said. “I was a little nervous when I performed, but I think the nerves really helped get me focused.”
Christopher Whitney, the drama teacher at Warren County High School, said he was really happy for Ontiveros’ success.
“I know she studied really, really hard and did a lot of research,” he said. “I’m happy to see her rewarded this way.”
Whitney said that Ontiveros was graded in six categories during the competition: meaning, language, character, vocal, physical, and ownership. He said that he will work with Ontiveros to prepare her for the national competition.
“We’re going to go through the notes I took one by one and try to perfect everything, whether it’s connecting with the character, emoting more, or just quicker breaks in emotions,” Whitney said.
Ontiveros said she’s nervous about going to the national competition and she’s going to perform the same monologue from Hamlet and Shakespeare’s fifth sonnet she used to win the regional competition. Ontiveros said that she will also be required to do a cold reading — which is to read from a script without any time to practice or rehearse — for the national competition.
“Somebody told me that cold readings are the death of actors, but my mom said it’s not going to be for you and that’s what I’m counting on,” she said.
Ontiveros is the second student in three years from Warren County High School to win the regional competition. Amber Ross won in 2016.
Ontiveros said she has been acting all of her life but took a break from acting for three years due to her commitment to the marching band. Ontiveros said that it hasn’t set in yet that she won the competition.
“When I came back out of nowhere and started doing this again after three years and to win the competition, it was a lot to take in,” she said. “I’m excited and I’m happy to prove to myself that I’m a good actress.”
Ontiveros said that, after she graduates from Warren County High School next year, she wants to go Shenandoah University and be a part of its acting program and, eventually, take part in the university’s study aboard program.
“I want to go to Korea to see how acting is there,” she said. “I really like Korea and their culture. I want to get to know how they do stuff there as well.”