Speech and Debate

at Stuyvesant High School

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SPEECH

Speech comes at the intersection of argumentation and performance. We emphasize both writing coherent and logical arguments and performing them in a way that integrates logical and emotional appeals. Speech also includes an acting component and some speech categories focus heavily on characterization and emoting.

Categories of Speech

Speech is divided into three categories:

Public Address events teach speakers how to write and perform speeches, Interpretation events focus heavily on acting and creating emotional appeal, and Limited Preparation events teach students how to speak persuasively while thinking on their feet. All categories require speakers to perform for ten minutes with the exception of Extemporaneous speaking which is seven minutes.

Public Address

Original Oratory - Original Oratory is a Varsity category in which speakers write and perform their own original speech concerning a topic, usually a social issue, of their choice. Original Oratory teaches students how to write speeches that are both engaging and funny, and structured in a logical and convincing way. Orators also focus on performance, learning how to craft emotional appeal and speak in a way that is engaging and persuasive.

 

Declamation - Declamation is a JV category that consists of memorizing and performing a ten-minute pre-written speech. The speeches can range from commencement addresses to original oratories written by previous students. The goal of this event is to give speakers the skills they need to eventually write and perform an original oratory. Declamers will focus on projection, vocal variations, and will learn to give an engaging pre-written speech.

 

Interpretation

Oral Interpretation - Oral Interpretation is divided into two events, poetry and prose. Speakers are expected to prepare both for tournaments and will alternate events each round. Oral Interpretation is a reading event, meaning students are not expected to memorize their script, but rather balance reading and performing out of a small binder. Poetry consists of cutting together various poems that center around a certain theme in order to convey an argument. Prose consists of performing a cutting of a short story or novel, focusing on characterization.

 

Dramatic Interpretation - Dramatic Interpretation consists of cutting a novel, short story, movie, or play down to ten minutes and performing it. Performers will usually play only one character, although they may play two if necessary. Because Dramatic Interpretation is not a reading event, the script must be memorized. Scripts are usually hard-hitting and touch on heavy or emotional themes. Speakers in this category focus on acting, character development, blocking, and using emotional appeal as a form of argumentation.

 

Humorous Interpretation - Humorous Interpretation also consists of cutting a novel, short story, movie, or play down to ten minutes and performing it. However, in Humorous Interpretation, rather than focusing on heavy and emotional themes, performances usually focus on conveying arguments through humor. Performers will often portray multiple characters, popping between them. Speakers in this category focus on acting, comedic timing, blocking, and crafting a clean and funny performance.

 

Duo Interpretation - Duo Interpretation consists of cutting a novel, short story, movie, or play down to ten minutes and performing it with a partner. Scripts can be funny, dramatic, or a combination of the two. Performers in this category will work together and focus on acting, comedic timing, blocking, and using emotional appeal as a form of argumentation.

 

Limited Preparation

Extemporaneous Speaking - Extemporaneous Speaking differs from other speech events in that speakers will perform a different speech each round. Every round, extempers are given a question concerning current events and, during a 30-minute preparatory period, must compose a seven-minute speech answering the question. Using previously filed documents including news and journal articles, extempers must focus both on argumentation and clean presentation in their performance. Speakers in this category will learn about current events, how to think on their feet, and how to perform and speak clearly under pressure.