Humorous Interpretation: Overview

This event is just like Dramatic Interpretation. Same rules, same restrictions, same concept, but funny. This is an individual event where the performer creates a cutting from a selection of published/printed work, which can be from a play, novel, short story, monologues (again, I do NOT recommend a monologue), etc. Humorous Interpretation, also known as HI, has a time limit of ten minutes for most National Forensic League districts; however, time limits can vary.

HI can be incredible fun, but it does offer a slew of challenges for its participants. HI can be summarized as a one-person humorous scene. Think of a theatrical moment from a play or movie you like, but picture all the roles being played by one person who could not move from their spot, had no costumes or props, and who had to rely only on themselves to depict all characters to tell the story. All while getting laughter. That’s HI. That being said, most judges expect to see a performer interpreting more than one character, hence why monologue selections are a poor choice—except for novices to the event. So if you need to play six different characters, what does that mean for you? Creativity! Character transitions, or pops, need to be noticeable, smooth, and instantaneous. Every character needs to stand out and have their own voice, stance, gestures, etc. This requires much practice, but once achieved, fantastic character pops and interpretations set you above the competition.

Because you are dealing with multiple personas, you need to have a full grasp on your characters. You need to know them inside and out. You need to know what they want and how others look on them. All of this will help not only with telling the story, but also with achieving laughter, filling your characters with life, and with the most pivotal aspect of HI—INTERPRETATION! It is called Humorous Interpretation for a reason. If you want to succeed, you most fully analyze the story, the theme, the characters, etc, to find the reason for this piece’s being and its humor. The story needs to be clear and readily followed.