Prose is expression through sentences and paragraphs. Or NOT poetry. Any fiction or non-fiction published, printed novel or short story can be selected to be cut for a Prose piece (however, your Prose piece can not also be used for any other event you are competing in).
Prose tells a story. A great Prose competitor will use diction, facials, gestures, eye contact, intonation, and pace (quickness/slowness/pauses) to their advantage. Every choice made in Prose needs to benefit the piece and help tell the story and aid interpretation. Also, adding this variety and texture with your body and voice keeps the audience interested and distinguishes you from people merely reading the words.
If there are multiple characters, each one needs to be different as shown through body language, stance, and voice. The Prose performer will have memorized the piece, however needs to give the impression that they are reading the story to the audience. The piece is “read” from a tiny, black binder held in the competitor’s hand. The binder can be a fabulous tool when used effectively (holding it tight to your body alters your stance and gives a completely different vibe from holding the book at a comfortable distance, for instance). Melting the binder into you and your voice is an art that takes practice.
Effectively telling a story takes lots of practice, devotion, and creativity. You are being judged on how well you bring life to the story. The more work you have done interpreting the piece and understanding it, the better you can make the fantasy reality. The crispness of mental imagery you have when you read a novel or short story is what you need to strive for your audience to achieve through you.