Dramatic Interpretation: Overview

This is an individual event, with no props or costumes, memorization required, and an introduction to the piece embedded within the performance. Pieces can be selections from published/printed novels, short stories, poetry, plays, monologues (although, I personally would not recommend a monologue) or other printed/published material. Dramatic Interpretation is also referred to as DI or, as a joke, Depressive Interpretation—due to competitors in DI sometimes choosing pieces “guaranteed” to cause tears in the hopes that tears and stories about puppies being maltreated will win medals (just kidding around DI speechies).

The gist of DI is fairly simple to grasp, yet perfecting it is tremendously challenging. This event takes vigorous work and dedication but is highly gratifying. As stated earlier, performers take a selection from a published/printed work and make a cutting of the piece. Cuttings should be observant of time limits. Cuttings should also be done in a fashion that allows for the story to flow, function, and facilitate drama.

It also should be noted most DI judges expect character changes (think of DI as a one-person play), so use of effective and clever body language and voice manipulation to convey character is necessary. Performers should be aware that you are NEVER allowed to walk around and feet are only permitted to change stance to further depict character. Ergo, you need to be real specific when it comes to character definitions! Plus, your character transitions (or POPS!) need to be smooth and quick. In addition, because DI entails character pops, thus multiple characters, interpretation of the text is key to success. You need to understand everyone you are playing. Know who they are, their relation to others, and what they want from the other characters. If you can do that, then your DI will be a success.