The Charlotte region rules the world when it comes to putting Shakespeare to music in a creative context.
Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg teams and one from Cabarrus County took first-place awards at this weekend’s Odyssey of the Mind world championship in Iowa. All three won in different age groups for the “To Be or Not To Be” challenge, which required putting Shakespeare’s famous line into a musical theater setting, in which Hamlet faces a new dilemma created by the team. The skits had to include creative scene and costume changes and a trap door.
Odyssey of the Mind – odysseyofthemind.com – challenges students to do research, perform skits, design vehicles and otherwise demonstrate a combination of hard work and resourcefulness. Hundreds of students throughout the region take part, with winners at the state level moving on to world competition.
Beverly Woods Elementary and Community House Middle School, both in south Charlotte, took first place in their age divisions. A college-level team sponsored by the Mount Pleasant Lions Club in Cabarrus County topped the list for that age division.
The Mount Pleasant team won a special award for creativity.
“The team created a life-sized alligator – complete with realistic ridges, terrifying teeth and shining-eyes – made only of cardboard,” says a synopsis forwarded by Richard Raley, the coordinator for the Charlotte region. “The gait and gestures of the alligator were matched by larger-than-life, but anatomically accurate, frogs, turtles and a singing salamander. The group pulled these elements together with exceptionally choreographed teamwork.”
In the high school division, the region had to settle for third. Teams from California and Singapore took first and second, with Lake Norman Charter School just behind them.
A team from Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Myers Park High took third in the “Weird Science” competition, which required creating a performance “about a team of scientists on an expedition to uncover the cause of mysterious events.”