(Credit: Montrose Speech Team)
At last year’s Speech State Final tournament, a couple of sophomores jokingly said, “Hey what if we put together a Shrek multiple for next year?” At speech competitions, there are many events to compete in, such as reading speeches, poetry, emulating a radio broadcaster, and many others. This speech event, officially called Multiple Reading, requires three to eight students to perform a twelve minute excerpt of a movie, TV episode, musical, or play. What makes Multiple so special is that the students cut the script, cast the piece, and create the choreography on their own. We use chairs as both scenery and props, making for a unique storytelling experience.
The idea of Montrose’s Shrek multiple went from a rough experimental run-through in Speech Co-Captain Anna Sheehan’s basement to being the first Montrose multiple to qualify for states in several years (if we could check the trophy case in Founders’ Hall, we would tell you exactly how long).
This year’s Shrek Multiple cast included the following Montrosians: Caroline Reichard ‘21 as Shrek, Lucy Stefani ‘21 as Princess Fiona, Anna Sheehan ‘21 as Donkey, Loraine Niebuhr ‘24 as Lord Farquaad and the Little Pig, Chloe Stefani ‘24 as Ogre Fiona, and Viviana Niebuhr ‘24 as Pinocchio and the Head Guard. We also all (except Caroline) played ensemble roles at different times in the piece; you’ll rarely see a multiple in which the members don’t play several roles in one twelve minute span. Additionally, we benefited from the contributions of Emma Barry ‘22, who helped create our stellar intro — a little message the cast can perform to introduce the audience to their story.
Our multiple certainly brought challenges, such as coordinating practice times and remembering to borrow chairs from Room 18 the night before each tournament (the chaos at 6 AM before a tournament when we realized we had forgotten to bring the chairs was REAL). And, of course, we had to adapt our multiple so that we could perform it over Soom for the States tournament. After a week’s worth of modifying choreography and rehearsing over Zoom, we brought Shrek to States.
Minus the original script, the multiple consisted completely of our own work. At any point, the cast of a multiple can alter blocking, cut lines, or add in new chair choreography. Chloe ‘24 (Ogre Fiona) said that the first word that comes to mind when she thinks of the multiple is “teamwork.” She reflected: “Something I take away from the experience of doing a multiple is that we didn’t need to win every tournament for me to feel like we accomplished something. The amount of hard work we put into it and the support of the team made me feel that way.”
We experienced the excitement of managing our own piece while hanging in the cafeteria before a particular tournament started. Loraine ‘24, who plays Lord Farquaad, was swinging her legs sitting on top of the four stacked chairs which we would soon use in our piece. Inspiration struck! Someone said, “What if Farquaad sat on all four chairs instead of just one for his throne, swinging his legs like a little kid?” And we added this bit into the piece an hour before performing it.
The multiple offered such a rewarding experience for the whole group. As Caroline said to her multiple pals after a year’s worth of work and fun, “y’all are the best.” The self-led and collaborative nature of the event enabled us to grow in flexibility and confidence. We could not have celebrated more when we reached the State Tournament. The instant our final round at States ended, our “Shrekkies” group chat blew up with lamentations that we had to bid this piece goodbye, but with even more congratulations and love. The Shrek multiple brought us together, and we will never again face a challenge without telling ourselves, “Hey now, you’re an All Star.”
Congratulations to all of those who competed at the Massachusetts State Tournament!
Caroline Reichard ‘21 (Multiple Member: 5th Place Overall)
Maevis Fahey ‘21 (Extemporaneous Speech: 5th Place Overall)
Anna Sheehan ‘21 (Impromptu Speech Semifinalist; Multiple Member: 5th Place Overall)
Lucy Stefani ‘21 (Multiple Member: 5th Place Overall)
Jenn Uche ‘22
Anna Hvidsten ‘23
Theresa Marcucci ‘23
Viviana Niebuhr ‘23 (Multiple Member: 5th Place Overall)
Loraine Niebuhr ‘24 (Multiple Member: 5th Place Overall)
Chloe Stefani ‘24 (Multiple Member: 5th Place Overall)
Anna Sheehan ‘21 and Lucy Stefani ’21, Faith Editor & Co-Speech Captain and Arts and Entertainment Editor