WHAT IS FORENSICS?. The forensics team competes against other schools and is made up of several categories. These categories are oral interpretation, and are basically acting in the front of a classroom, but without costumes, makeup, props, or traditional blocking: Humorous, Dramatic, Prose, Poetry, Duo, and Storytelling. These categories are public speaking: Oratory, Ex Temp, and Impromptu. For detailed information about the categories, scroll down.
LEAGUES IN WHICH WE COMPETE. We currently compete in only one league, but are looking into adding additional leagues to improve our game. VHSL works much as it does for the sports teams in the ladder system: You must place at regionals to qualify for superregionals, and you must place at both regionals and superregionals to qualify for state. We can field only 2 entries per category with a total of 17 on the team.
PRACTICES. Practice starts as soon as the first interest meeting is over. Team member practices are scheduled individually, and team practice is Wednesday, after school. Students missing mandatory meets will not be placed on the VHSL roster.
Virginia High School League--Forensics http://www.vhsl.org/forensics.htm
National Speech and Debate Association -- https://www.speechanddebate.org
A detailed description of categories (courtesy SVFL site)
Interpretive events are the most delivery-intensive of all the public speaking events. They are 10-minute pre-memorized speeches, just like original events, but the resemblance ends there. You do not write your own speeches in this event; rather, you choose a published work (usually a play, poem, story, or famous speech), edit it down to ten minutes, and deliver it to your audience. This is the best event for non-political "actor" types and Drama students who also take Public Speaking.
Humorous Interpretation (HI)
Humorous Interp is the opposite of Dramatic Interp - you're looking for funny, feel-good material. Usually lots of physical and situational humor. Though there are exceptions, the oft- accurate stereotype of an H.I. performance is a speaker jumping around with hyperactive intensity, making unrealistic faces, and using the most outrageous voices possible. Material usually comes from a play, as in a D.I., except that you want at least four or five characters. Again, you play all of your characters, and you usually have to differentiate their voices/attitudes/stances a lot so the audience won't mix them up. The speech must be memorized.
Dramatic Interpretation (DI)
Dramatic Interp uses tragic, heart-rending material. Watching a good D.I. is a very cathartic experience, to say the least. Most speakers in D.I. say they feel spiritually exhausted after any performance; they put their whole selves into it. You get your material from a play (nine times out of ten, though some people use dialog from books), usually with only 2 or 3 characters. More characters than that distract the audience from the dramatic action. The speech must be memorized.
Duo Interpretation (Duo)
Duo Interpretation is basically a DI or HI with two people performing two separate and distinct characters. Contestants may not explicitly touch each other or look each other in the eyes. The two must show interaction by doing their individual parts so it appears as though the two are actually talking to each other. All other rules and strategies applying to either DI or HI apply here. Duo must be memorized. In VHSL, duo has now been split into humorous and serious.
Storytelling is much like G-rated HI. Your audience is pictured as kiddies, so keep it clean, funny, and set for children. You're looking for funny, feel-good material, with lots of physical humor. Though there are exceptions, the oft- accurate stereotype of a Storyteller is a speaker jumping around with hyperactive intensity, making unrealistic faces, using the most outrageous voices possible. The material comes from a published work of "children's literature." Like HI, you want at least four or five characters. Again, you play all of your characters, and you usually have to differentiate their voices/attitudes/ stances a lot so the audience won't mix them up. The speech must be memorized.
Interpretation of Prose
Prose may be either humorous or serious. It must, however, be prose interpretation. This means no plays, musicals, or speeches. Short stories are better for selections; multiples voices are a plus, but it should not be an acting piece. Students must maintain the appearance of reading a script. A script must be used.
Interpretation of Poetry
Poetry may be either humorous or serious. It must, however, be poetry interpretation. This means no plays, musicals, short stories, essays, or speeches. A long poem is acceptable or a program of various short poems composed according to authorship or theme is also acceptable. Students must maintain the appearance of reading a script. A script must be used.
All original speeches are 10 minutes long, at max. There is no minimum length, but you're encouraged to shoot for about 9:30 or so. You write and memorize your speech before the tournament, and usually use the same speech for the whole year. Because you write your own speeches, creativity and good writing ability are a must. And because you must deliver a memorized speech, you must learn to develop a good, natural speaking manner. Original Oratory is a speech to inspire. It's motivational in nature: you're trying to convince your audience to do something different, like work harder, be more honest, get more involved in community issues or in the family, etc. The speech must be memorized.
This is a competitive public speaking event in which a contestant draws three slips of paper out of an envelope. These pieces of paper are questions pertaining to current events, and the contestant must choose the question he/she is most comfortable speaking about. The questions asked of the contestant will deal with current events and either Domestic or Foreign issues, dependent upon the category in which a student registers. Here is an example of the kind of questions a contestant might have: What will be the effects of the AOL/Time Warner Merger?, Who will be the next US President?, What happens as the gap between wealth and income grows larger?, Will a democracy last in Russia?, Will there ever be peace in Ireland?? After reading the options, the contestant chooses one topic and then has half an hour to develop a speech to last 5-7 minutes. This speech is then delivered in front of a judge who judges the speech based on content, analysis of the question, and delivery. A 3x5 note card may be used.
This is a competitive public speaking event in which a contestant draws three slips of paper out of an envelope. On these pieces of paper are prompts (quotations, proverbs, famous events, famous people, and objects); choosing one of these prompts, the speaker then spends about two minutes preparing a five-minute maximum speech. Impromptu speaking is similar to ex temp, but is much "looser." Impromptu is far less structured and less evidence-based in order to allow for true spontaneity. A 3x5 notecard may be used.