Shaila Essley, a student at the Los Angeles High School for the Arts on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles, will lead a group of three local students to perform in the finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) in New York.
Essley, 15, a Chino Hills resident, finished first in the Los Angeles regional finals which enabled her to earn a $500 scholarship and a spot in the finals. Philip Patrick Bucknor finished second and earned a $400 scholarship followed by Wayne R. Mackins-Harris who is the alternate and winner of a $300 scholarship. Bucknor and Mackins-Harris both attend Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Contestants this year featured high school students from four Southern California cities, who performed in the regional finals at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, March 2.
Both Essley and Bucknor will compete in the New York City on May 4, and Mackins-Harris will perform and also serve as an alternate at the finals.
“This [the AWMC] has turned out to be, for me, one of the great evenings in the theater, and I look forward to it every year,” said Center Theatre Group’s artistic director Michael Ritchie during his welcoming remarks Monday night.
Every student participating in this competitio performed a monologue from playwright August Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle, an epic dramatization of the African American experience in the 20th century.