Original Oratory, NOT Interpretation

The Forensics Speech division is divided into two main categories of events: speaking and interpretation.  Though skills required in one do blend into the other event, they are most definitely two distinct performance styles.  Therefore, it becomes moderately alarming when in an Original Oratory round you encounter a speaker using pops and character voices in their delivery.  You begin to wonder, "Am I in the right room?  Is this some dream where I am not prepared for my Dramatic Interpretation?"  No.  You are in an Original Oratory round on the verge of entering The Twilight Zone.  Before you do head over to Maple Street though you might want to consider the dangers of mingling interpretation with speaking.

  • Judging dilemmas.  Original Oratory is filed under speaking.  Though it might work in limited use to have some acting/interpretation style humor sprinkled in to hook the audience, relying on this makes your OO difficult to judge.  If your Original Oratory is bursting with acting/interpretation, and it is the black sheep of the round, the judge might encounter issues with ranking you in comparison to the rest in the round.  Your OO should be ranked based on your speaking ability and speech, not on your clever use of voices.  Too much interp and you might lose rank because you are event-blending.
  • More work for you.  Original Oratory has enough happening between research, writing, and speaking that adding interpretation to your to-do list is bonkers.  Focus on the elements of OO that need to be addressed for the event.  Once you have those polished THEN think of acting a few lines out if the speech could be improved.
  • Gimmick.  If you are incorporating silly voices and minor pops into your speech as a means to gain popularity, by having the gimmick of being the Wacky OOer, stop.  Stop right now.  Though Original Oratory could gain from a little well-placed humor in speeches, there is no need to turn OO into Humorous Interpretation.  In fact, that sort of wizardry is frowned upon.   
  • Cover-up?  Too much interpretation might lead people to suspect that you are attempting to hide a flaw in your piece.  A speech should be able to stand alone on its integrity.  It does not need that quirky voice.  Thus, acting once or twice for a effect can work.  Do it too much and people wonder about the quality of your work.
  • THIS IS A SPEAKING EVENT.  Let that guide you.

Everyone is looking for the "thing" that will distinguish their Original Oratory from the pack.  But transforming an OO into a weak HI/DI is not the solution.  If you insist on being "original" and mix in interpretation do so, but do so sparingly and for legitimate reasons.  It can work if planned carefully.  When in doubt, ask What Would insert favorite speaker's name here Do?