- Abigail Van Horn
- Senior, The Lovett School
If Abigail Van Horn asks if she shall “compare thee to a summer’s day,” it is not because of a yearning for the end of the school year. Instead, it is because she means business.
At the end of April, Abigail placed as a semi-finalist in the 30th season of the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition after performing Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” and a monologue from “Much Ado About Nothing.” She performed on the Vivian Beaumont stage at Lincoln Center.
“Who gets to say that they performed on a Broadway stage when they were 18?” Abigail said of her experience.
Abigail earned her chance to compete at the national level after becoming the first-ever Lovett student to win the Atlanta branch competition, which was judged by professional actors and actresses. She beat 28 other competitors, including the second place finisher, fellow Lovett student Bryony Berry.
During her all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, Abigail got to see a modern rendition of “Julius Caesar,” sit in on a course at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and meet the nearly 60 other competitors from across the country and Mexico.
Why does she study Shakespeare? “I like how complicated his characters are,” Abigail said. “We learned in school and in theater that a character really isn’t believable unless they are incredibly complex and insane, and I think he does a really good job of making characters like that.”
Abigail also felt that the pieces she competed with were well-fitted to her personality.
“She has wonderful stage presence and confidence which translate beautifully in the characters she creates on the stage,” said her coach for the competition, Eric Brannen.
Leading up to the nationals, Abigail practiced daily with Brannen, who joined her in New York.
“Everybody was brilliant at what they did, and it was just really nice to be surrounded by that talent,” said Abigail of the competition.
While the scope of her recent performance was new, she is no stranger to the stage, and has participated in many of Lovett’s school productions, from “The Sound of Music” to “My Fair Lady,” and has acted in a few commercials.
The only drawback to Abigail’s trip was that she had to miss her regional golf tournament. Abigail is the Lovett girls’ golf team captain and has been on the varsity team throughout her four years of high school.
In addition to golf and acting, Abigail is a cheerleader and enjoys singing. While her favorite subjects are Advanced Placement music theory, and astronomy and astrophysics, her passion still lies in acting.
“I think that anytime you have a chance to perform, you should take it, because it really helps you grow as a person,” said Abigail.
Abigail plans to attend Pepperdine University in the fall. She hopes to continue acting and is interested in studying psychology or fashion design.
This article was reported and written by Mollie Simon, a student at Chamblee Charter High School.