Why you shouldn’t do your D.I. piece for Prose

When selecting a prose piece for Oral Interpretation, many competitors turn to their Dramatic Interpretation scripts. It’s true that doing your D.I. piece for O.I. can save time, help with memorization and build confidence, but there are a few reasons you should seek out a second script.

First, doing the same piece in two events is for beginners. Newbies are often handed one interp piece to do for both D.I. and prose. This saves them the trouble of having to diligently search for a second piece, and it’s a simple way to help someone ease into competition without overwhelming them with too much material. In junior division, it’s actually surprising to see competitors who are doing two different pieces. But once you’ve advanced to senior division, you should be able to manage separate scripts for Dramatic and prose.

Second, in O.I., you always have the option to glance down at your binder, but in D.I. your lines must be memorized. Using the same piece for both events can make you become too dependent on your script. This goes both ways: if your piece is “too memorized,” it won’t work well for prose performance because you need to maintain a balance between looking at your pages and looking at your audience. The interpretation techniques for the two events are also slightly different, so it is easy to tell when a competitor is recycling a piece.

Another problem is that judges will often evaluate a Dramatic panel in the first round and then end up judging an O.I. round later in the same tournament. It is not uncommon for the same judge to be responsible for deciding your score twice, so if you’re using the same piece for both events, it might cause you to lose points if your judge didn’t appreciate your original interpretation of the piece.

It’s OK to use the same piece in both events if it’s the beginning of the year and you’re trying to start slow; people will understand if you have a lot of things going on at the start of school. But after the first few tournaments, you should always try to vary the subject and focus of your pieces because it helps you to exercise your talents.

If you’re not sure where to begin looking for a prose piece, consider using a selection from one of your favorite novels or short story collections. Don’t settle for repetition! Try to find a new or unique piece that nobody else is using right now. There is an abundance of short stories, books, and plays that would be perfect for O.I. at your local library – check out this post on what libraries can offer to speech piece seekers: http://www.forensicscommunity.com/blog/interview-library-can-be-speechie’s-best-friend

Good luck!