Dramatic Interpretation Introductions

Writing an introduction is largely looked upon as a tough, yet unimportant aspect to performance.  Well, a good introduction is tough to write and requires thought.  Are they unimportant though?  Absolutely not!  An introduction is the only time to address the judge as yourself; it is the time to do some personal selling of your piece.  Introductions also provide valuable background information and hook to grab the attention of your listeners.  Introductions can also be the time to break the rapture of your audience if they are not lulled into your sales pitch.  When writing a Dramatic Interpretation introduction there are several things you can do to reel in your audience.  

  • Set the tone. Dramatic Interpretations are often a dreary sort of artistic expression.  Does this entitle you to be melodramatic and cry?  No.  But you might not want to be a clown either.  Obviously every DI will entail a particular mood (not all atmospheres work for all DIs). BUT, a somber attitude driven with energy tends to fit most Dramatic Interpretation introductions.
  • List all necessary information. Author's name and the title of the piece; you need it.
  • Background information. Most pieces are a selection from a larger work.  Therefore, when you present your introduction bear in mind that your audience might not have read this story before.  Are they being presented a piece after some drama has occurred--drama that needs to be known?  Was this Dramatic Interpretation a reaction to a historical movement or event?  Should your audience be aware of this?  Did the author have a particular message in mind that your listeners might need to know?  Most plays and pieces of literature have a message to be told, so take advantage of that when you write your introduction.
  • Be yourself. In a Dramatic Interpretation you transform yourself into any number of characters.  Be sure that when you present the introduction you are yourself.  As stated earlier, this is the only time to be you for the judge.  Show them your charm and confidence and make them remember who you are!
  • Be creative. You are in a performing event and thus can take certain liberties.  You can be creative and think-up imaginative hooks and clinchers for the opening and closing of your introduction.  You can use poetic language because it fits in with the tone of most DIs.
  • Placement. Your introduction should be embedded within your piece after a good hook and logical break.  Dramatic Interpretation introductions often are placed after an opening monologue or scene change that ends on a bang.  If there are no natural breaks on that large of a scale look next for moments within dialogue where a smaller break occurs.  For example, if during a monologue the narrator asks a rhetorical question or has an emotional break than an introduction would work.
  • Audience connection. Performance pieces are meant to link to the audience so they can identify with the story and characters.  Create ways to remind your audience of a time they felt like the lead or were in a similar situation. 

Introductions might be a challenge but they are not impossible.  Using the following guidelines for a Dramatic Interpretation introduction could be all you need to pen that spectacular introduction you always wanted to write.