Going too far?

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There comes a time when you read a script and have to wonder if it goes too far. Is the twist at the end too extreme? Is the content somewhat obscure, violent, or odd? You want to strive for innovation, but is this a tad much?


If you find yourself asking if the content of the piece is okay for competition, which could be an indicator of inappropriate work, I would ask you a few questions prior to nixing the material: 1. Are you afraid of being different? If you are asking if this “goes too far” simply on the grounds others rarely mingle with themes/imagery such as this, you could be destroying your chance at being unique. 2. Does what you’re questioning enhance a piece, or is it central to a theme? It may be easier to get away with doing risky material if it is not there just to be odd. If it is central to the work, and unavoidable, then it is part of the art. 3. Are you comfortable performing this? Will your district/coaches allow it as well? If you have the go-ahead from your district/coaches then the only barrier is you.


Think of it like this, unnecessary extremism is a lot like a random sex scene or random swearing in a movie. If the swearing or sex does nothing for the plot or character development, but is only there just because they can, then it really has no business being there. If this is what your questionable content feels like, then most likely it’s just there because the author thought it would be cool and it might not work for a piece.


That said, if the violence, oddness, twist, etc is justifiable and legal for use, then why not use it? Every tournament there are pieces about rape, cancer, death, and more “touchy” issues. Yet we hardly challenge these norms; these horrible topics are so common place in speech they are NORMS! That principle of pieces probably “goes further” than anything you could be contemplating.

I say as long as it meets standards and rules of where you're competing, and you're okay with it, go for it. But always remember to be tasteful and tactful.

Ask yourself: do you mind if your family watches you perform this? Yes? Then you best not perform that line :^)

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