By: STO Folarin Oyeleye, Foster High School, Troupe 7961
As the 2021 UIL Spring season comes to a close with an array of events wrapping up such as High School One Act Play, Theatrical Design, and Academic UIL, we wanted to show off the accomplishments of our fellow thespians. However, we also acknowledge the fact that they aren't just limited to theatre. With that being said, let's put on our dresses and ties as we walk into the world of Speech and Debate.
Speech and Debate are UIL event categories, and both have events that appeal to everyone. On the speech side we have events such as Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation, Duo and Duet, and Poetry/Prose. These events can all be seen as acting, and although they all seem similar they all have their own rules.
Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation are very similar in their formatting. For starters the speaker has 10 minutes (and a 30 second grace period) to perform. The structure for how the event works is the speaker providing a little snippet of their piece as a teaser then flowing into their intro. The intro is essentially a summary of the piece and any sort of relevance it has to today or the themes it tackles. Then, once the intro is done the participant pops back into the rest of their piece. This formula is how most events will work minus the time limit.
Duo and Duet are similar in that they're both team events but they differ in their approach. In Duo partners are not allowed to make physical and eye contact. However, in Duet you're free to do so. This allows for the building of healthy team dynamics as well as creative performances. And regarding the time limit it is also comprised of a 10 minute performance with a 30 second grace.
Poetry and Prose are both known as "binder events." What this means is that instead of having to fully memorize a piece, the speaker can have a binder with the piece inside. The main key is to have a healthy balance of memorization to where you can glance at the binder when needed, but not fully read it. These events are also only 7 minutes and can use up to four sources to make a coherent piece.
Moving onto the debate side we have events such as Congressional Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Extemporaneous Debate. The debaters work to prove that their claim for an argument is more valid than the opposing side's assertion.
Congressional Debate works to imitate the legislation of the United States. In this event debaters will create a series of bills and resolutions as they deliver speeches for and against a certain topic. Some examples of discussion topics are: the bill to update the clean air act, regulate e-cigarettes, and to lift the ban on crude oil exports.
Extemporaneous Debate is a head to head debate in which competitors discuss more than one topic. They are given 30 minutes of prep time, and are allowed to use evidence but not necessity due to the short time span to prepare.
Finally, we have Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Speakers compete in a one on one match with a topic provided by the association. The rounds last 45 minutes on average (which factors in time for cross examinations and rebuttals).
Now that you're aware of the breakdown of the events, and what speech and debate entails, let's get our fellow thespians perspective on the matter.
Q: What made you join Speech and Debate?
"My director made me complete for the first time for a grade, and I continued doing it because I didn't know I was allowed to stop. but now I enjoy it." -Hannah Bronsell , Foster HS, Troupe 7961
Q: Would you recommend Speech and Debate to other theatre students?
"Absolutely. I feel as though they go hand and hand. Speech and debate not only utilize the performance skills that you learn in theatre. But they also develop key reasoning and deductive skills that help you better develop your character and stage work, all the work that goes into creating a compelling character and show." - STO Gabriel Brock, Goose Creek Memorial HS, Troupe 8132
Speech and Debate has been an integral role in allowing our students to find new ways to express themselves. With some state competitions ending and starting we congratulate and wish everyone the best. And to everyone participating in NSDA this summer, break a leg!
Have a good one,
Your 2020 & 2021 Texas State Thespian Officers