All the world’s a

GREENFIELD — From “amazement” to “zany,” playwright William Shakespeare contributed at least 500 words to the English language with his plays and poems.

Greenfield-Central High School students paid homage to his craft by reading some of his words as he intended them to be read — aloud, before a crowd.

Greenfield-Central’s ninth-grade high ability English class hosted the 19th annual Shakespeare Monologue Competition on Jan. 26 in the Cougar Meeting Room at the high school.

The winner of the upperclassman monologue competition will go on to compete against 10 to 15 other Indiana high school students, said master of ceremonies Jill Jenkins. The student who wins in the Indiana Shakespeare monologue competition receives an all-expenses-paid trip to New York, where the national finals will take place in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Jenkins said.

The competition is conducted in conjunction with the English Speaking Union of the United States, an organization that celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators and members, its website states.

The 21 freshman students from the high abilities class picked a research topic such as daily life in Elizabethan times, and their topic led to their part in preparing for the annual event, high abilities English teacher Susie Schoeff said. Students dressed the set, made refreshments for the intermission from authentic Elizabethan recipes, performed music, songs and dances from the era, and published a newspaper, “Her Majesty’s Courier.”

In years when there are two sections of the high ability class, students have dressed as fairies or been put in the stocks for punishment, Schoeff said, but this year’s event was more traditional.

Her students dressed as upper class or lower class individuals thanks to the costumes from “The Crucible,” which was recently performed at the high school, and the Madrigal choir, which often wears elaborate Elizabethan costumes.

Schoeff teaches one comedy and one tragedy to high ability English students throughout the semester, which gives them a deeper understanding of the era, she said. For example, Friar Lawrence in the tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” gives a long monologue about various herbal remedies from Elizabethan times.

There were five freshmen who performed monologues: Mae Griffin, Elaine Hilton, Alex Rupley, Steven Bass and Adam Lee; and three upperclassmen, Tyler Combs, Bailey Shelton and Noah Hite.

Elaine Hilton won the freshman first-place award for her monologue as Lady Capulet from “Romeo and Juliet,” Act 1, Scene 3.

For the upperclassmen competition, senior Tyler Combs won third place with his monologue from Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 1; senior Bailey Shelton won second place with a monologue as Perilous from “All’s Well That Ends Well,”; and the winner was senior Noah Hite with his monologue as King Henry from “Henry V.”

“Spoilers: He is the king of England,” he joked before performing his monologue. He added that the French king at the time had sent his daughter as a peace offering, and Henry is attempting poorly to woo the young woman.

Jenkins said next year for the 20th annual competition, she and Schoeff plan to throw a big Elizabethan party.

Shakespeare by the numbers

At the 19th Annual Shakespeare Monologue Competition at Greenfield-Central High School on Jan. 26, master of ceremonies Jill Jenkins shared some trivia about the master playwright, William Shakespeare. 

Works:  37 or 38, depending on who you ask

Words: 884,647

Lines: 118,000

Longest play: Hamlet 

Shortest play: A Comedy of Errors

New words from Shakespeare’s works: 500

Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or