Update 2008: Shakespeare winner has eyes on BU
01:00 AM EST on Sunday, December 28, 2008
The Providence Journal / Andrew Dickerman
PROVIDENCE — For Ari Brisbon, winner of last year's state Shakespeare contest, being a college student has been his most challenging role so far.
Brisbon, a tough street kid who said that the theater saved his life, went to New York City in April to compete in the English Speaking Union's National Shakespeare Competition, the winner of which spent two weeks at the British American Drama Academy in London last summer.
Brisbon didn't win the big prize but he did graduate from Hope High School in June, a nail-biter up until the last minute. After a very promising tryout at Boston University's prestigious School of Theater, Brisbon recognized that he had to bring up his grades before BU would accept him, and so he enrolled at Community of College of Rhode Island in September.
Dorothy Jungels, his mentor and second mom, said Brisbon has struggled to deal with the freedom and responsibility that go along with being a college freshman. But she said that Ari is determined to stay in school and re-apply to Boston University, where assistant professor Mark Cohen called him one of the most talented kids in Brown University's summer acting program.
In the meantime, Brisbon is performing regularly at Everett Dance Theater's Friday Night Live improvisation program and he is preparing another Shakespeare monologue, this time from Hamlet, for the monthly open mike session in January.
— Journal staff writer Linda Borg