Broken Arrow teen and Shakespeare

Tuesday, April 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Broken Arrow High School senior is headed to New York this weekend, where she'll represent Oklahoma in the National Shakespeare Competition. Amanda Steen will make another trip to the Big Apple this fall, one of only 20 national applicants accepted for the theatre program at the Juilliard School.

KOTV talked with Mandy about her love for acting. Mandy Steen won Oklahoma's Shakespeare competition with a monologue from "Two Noble Kinsmen," which she saw performed at England's Globe Theatre last summer. The actress who portrayed the jailer's daughter inspired Mandy in more ways than one. "She was the one that really motivated me to just go for it, to go for it and audition at Juilliard." Mandy auditioned twice for New York's Juilliard School, which chose only 20 students for its new class. She was at school, in the choir room, when the call came. "And so I hung up the phone and started screaming and everybody in the choir room started screaming, and we were all screaming, and it was just fabulous."

Meanwhile, Mandy's polishing the Shakespeare works she'll perform in the National Shakespeare Competition, sponsored by the English Speaking Union. She says his writing is a challenge, but well worth digging into. "People get scared of it because of the language, but what you realize as you read it and perform it is that it's the same stories that we see all the time. The same sort of stories. It's people. That's all it is." Mandy's being coached by Broken Arrow Drama Teacher JoJo Nichols, who says her student is "very internal," an ability that can't be taught. "You can give someone technique, such as how to move on stage, the conventions of theatre, but to really be able to internalize characters is indeed where the talent comes, and she's very gifted in that regard."

Though always interested in music and dance, Mandy didn't take up acting till 8th grade. In four years, though, she's discovered her path. "My dream is to produce the best quality of art that I know how. Whether it's in a closet or on Broadway." Looks like Mandy's dream is off to a promising start.

The Tulsa chapter will send Broken Arrow Drama teacher JoJo Nichols to a Shakespeare teaching program at the Globe Theatre this summer.