Dramatic Interpretation, or D.I., uses tragic, heart-rending material. Watching a really good Dramatic Interpretation is a cathartic experience to say the least. Most speakers in D.I. say they feel "spiritually exhausted" after any performance and they put their whole selves into it: this probably lends to the stereotype of the slightly, well, eccentric behavior displayed by many in this category. Participants take their selection from a play. Participants play all the characters; this distinguishes D.I. from straight drama and makes it a speech event. A category for serious actors, but novices are welcome to try their skills and build up their confidence performing in front of a small audience (the judge and the other participants). Material is memorized.
Humorous Interpetation, or H.I., is the diametric opposite of Dramatic Interpretation -- participants use funny, feel-good material. Though there are exceptions, the oft- accurate stereotype of an H.I. performance is a speaker jumping around with hyperactive intensity, making unrealistic faces, using the most outrageous accents possible, and using risqué humor. Forensic veterans familiar with Billy Newman know what I'm talking about. Some four-letter words are off-limits, but just about everything else is permitted. This is a really fun category to watch, and a challenging one to participate in...but people comfortable acting should try it out. Material is memorized.
This must be a cutting from a play, novel, poem, or short story.
No costumes or props are allowed, other than two chairs.
The minimum performance time is eight minutes and the maximum time is
twelve minutes, including the introduction (30 seconds grace).
Students may not use the same selection for duet and another event.
Duet Improvisation: Teams will
select from three topics and have three minutes to prepare. An
introduction must precede the performance that cannot exceed five minutes in
This performance should not exceed eight (10) minutes, including at most one minute of introduction and transitional material other than the author's words. Any overtime beyond the thirty-second grace period is excessive. Judges may not award first place to any contestant speaking beyond the thirty-second grace period.
Selection: Is the selection appropriate for the speaker? Does it show interest, intelligibility, and literary value?
Introduction: Are the title and the author clearly stated? Is interest in the selection created? Is the mood set? Is the information relevant to and sufficient for the scene?
Insight and Understanding: Does the speaker appear to have insight into the mood and meaning of the selection? Is each idea clearly expressed? Does the speaker display an understanding of the author’s theme, point of view, and intent?
Characterizations: Does the speaker clearly distinguish each of the characters in the selection? Are the character(s) and their attitudes clear and vivid? Are the body responses and attitudes appropriate?
Voice and Diction: Is pronunciation acceptable? Is enunciation distinct without being pedantic? Are pitch, rate, and volume appropriate? Is the speaker’s voice responsive and pleasant? Is the use of vocal variety appropriate and sufficient?
Bodily Action: Is the speaker poised? Do gestures and expressions contribute to the interpretation of the material? Does the speaker avoid distracting and unmotivated movement?
General Effectiveness: Does the speaker clearly communicate the selection? Does the speaker maintain the listener’s interest? Is the performance consistent? Is the total effect pleasing?
To Be Read Aloud - Prose and Poetry Selections
Wetmore Declamation - Oral Interp selections
Sapphire Ink - Poetry under UIL Categories
Tibetan Treefrog Publishing - Oral Interpretation Publishing
Brooklyn Publishers - Monologues, Duets and Full Length Plays
JD Drama Publishing - Monologues, Duets and Improv