Comedy in Declamation

If you were to do a word association with the prompt “Declamation,” here is a list you might accumulate:

-AIDS
-commencement speech
-hope for the future
-discrimination of any kind
-politics
- WHY SO SERIOUS?

Declamation, like most events open to both the comedic and dramatic, is mostly a thoroughfare of grave topics. Given the nature of this event it is understandable. Speeches are often delivered during a formal affair where important business is on the docket. Clearly, one would not deliver a fully comedic speech on the issue of AIDS. It would be utterly inappropriate and offensive.

Yet, when choosing a Declamation piece it is important to look for one that offers at least a handful of chuckles. Why you ask? For the same reason any dramatic film has a few solid jokes—laughter breaks the smother-heavy atmosphere and relieves tension.

People often become numb to a situation if immersed in it for too long. Translation? Too much drama and the audience might tune you out enough to not recall the message of the piece. Further, being tuned out means you have lost the audience. Losing the audience might correlate with losing the judge. And we all know what happens when we lose a judge!

After the round is completed, you want your speech to be remembered. Giving a polished performance is the first step to accomplish this. The second step is using humor to kill monotony, save your audience from boredom, and keep them invested in your piece. If you can achieve interest from the audience, than that means people are actually listening. When people listen, they remember. Therefore, an easy formula might read as follows:

Polished Piece + Laughter = Attention/Interest --> BEING REMEMBERED

Of course being remembered is not the only secret to success. But there is a correlation to being remembered and ranking higher; just stating the obvious. Besides, variety is one component of what makes a great piece; mixing humor and drama is a splendid way of adding spice to your selection.