Oral Interpretation Guidelines The following information was borrowed from the 2001-2002 UIL Prose and Poetry Interpretation Handbook Prepared by Melissa Freeman
Introduction • “The function of oral interpretation is not only to discover, but then to share, and what joy comes from sharing literature with an audience! Those moments create a special bond between the literature, the reader and the listener.” Jana Riggins, UIL Speech Director
General Guidelines • Getting Started • Preparing for the Contest • UIL Categories • Resources
Finding Literature Where to Look Selecting Literature Understanding the Text Introductions Transitions Cutting Rehearsal Performance Getting Started
Libraries Technology College Libraries College Bookstores Used Books Audio Resources Newspapers Internet Testimony Can you think of others? Where to Look… www.wetmoredeclamation.com
Selecting Literature • Consider Yourself • Consider Your Capabilities • Consider Your Audience • Consider Literary Value • Consider Appropriateness
Understanding the Text • Speaker • Scene • Audience • Act • Agency • Purpose
Introductions should… • …prepare the audience • …allow the audience to meet you • …provide essential information • …establish a mood
Introductions should focus on… • …how you relate to the selection • …the category’s requirements • …social issues • …the writer’s purpose • …an element of the selection
Introductions should avoid… • …running out of time • …spoiling the experience by giving away too much • …asking trite rhetorical questions • …copying someone else’s introductions • …either reading or performing your introduction
Cutting Literature for Performance • Read the ENTIRE selection • Thoroughly analyze the work as a whole • Continuity is critical! • Beginning, Middle, End • Stay true to author’s intent • Avoid cutting vivid passages • Cut repetition (in prose) • Cut tag lines • Cut subplots • Cut references to something you’ve already cut
Rehearsal Techniques • Establish regular schedule • 110% • Seek audiences • Mark your manuscript • Videotape • Audiotape • Work with other interpreters
Rehearsal Techniques (cont.) • Focus! • Practice in noisy surroundings • Use a variety of volumes • Isolate portions of script for practice • Ask people to listen ONLY to intro… • Prepare more than one intro.
Preparing for the Contest • Plan in Advance • What to Expect • Tournament Guidelines • Ethics and Sportsmanship
Plan in Advance for Competition • School work comes first • Know the rules • Make sure you have met paperwork requirements • Provide parents with schedule info • Dress appropriately. . .
Dressing Appropriately • Sneakers are not appropriate • Dress conservatively • Dress neat, clean, unwrinkled • Avoid clothing that draws attention to itself • Men: slacks, ties, jackets • Women: dress or suit
UIL Categories • Prose: Category A & B • Poetry: Category A & B • Documentation
Prose • In the 60s and 70s, the UIL prose categories featured geographical distinctions, and selections were restricted to those written by authors included on an official UIL list. In the 80s, the categories featured genre distinctions: novels, essays, short stories, nonfiction, and folklore.
Prose (cont.) • Because these distinctions are often so very difficult to draw, the prose and poetry committee sought to create prose categories that did not rely on questionable parameters for what fit and did not fit a category. The current prose categories require documentation only in Category A.
Prose Categories • Category A ~ Celebrate Non-Fiction: First Person Narratives • Category B ~ Celebrate Fiction
Prose: Category A • The contestant shall perform a selection from a published work of non-fiction written in prose, from the first-person point of view. The goal of this category is to encourage students to explore narratives of human experience as reported by the author.
Prose: Category A (cont.) • Material for this category should be drawn from one of the following published forms: memoirs, autobiographies, letters, diaries, journals, or essays. In this type of literary work, the author tells a story as he or she experienced it. The point of view will be personal, making use of the pronouns “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “we.” The selection shall not be drawn from published or unpublished speeches, “one-person” theatre, or theatrical monologues. Works by anonymous authors are not permissible.
For Category A, the contestant shall provide published documentation verifying that the selection is classified as non-fiction. Verification shall consist of Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal Classification system, or other published source such as The New York Times bestseller list, that establishes the selection as a piece of non-fiction.
Contest Director must ask for and verify written documentation prior to the beginning of the round. Students shall not be allowed to compete without sufficient documentation. If an on-line data service is used for documentation, contestants should print the home page/main index page of the site from which the documentation was retrieved. Printouts of the documentation and the home page should include the URL of the web site. Bibliographic Information
Prose: Category B • The contestant shall perform a selection from a published work of fiction written in prose. The selection should be drawn from a novel, novella, novelette or short story. The goal of this category is to encourage contestants to explore the imagination of authors from any country throughout the world. The author of this category may not be used in the other prose category. Works by an anonymous author are not permissible.
For Category B, the contestant shall provide published documentation verifying that the selection is classified as fiction. Verification shall consist of Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal Classification system, or other published source such as The New York Times bestseller list, that establishes the selection as a piece of fiction
Suggestion: • Students are urged to take to the contest site the original published source of the selection and/or to add bibliographic information for selections in the form of a footnote on their manuscript copy.
Poetry • Category Restrictions • Material chosen for use in either category of poetry interpretation shall meet the following restrictions:
Poetry (cont.) • all selections shall be published, printed material, • selections from plays or screenplays shall not be used, • song lyrics published only as music shall not be used, • no contestant shall use an individual poet in more than one category in the contest,
Cont. • no contestant shall use selections from the same literary work more than one year at UIL State Meet, • selections shall be read in the English translation; however, incidental use of foreign language words and phrases in any selection may be used as in the original.
Poetry Categories • Category A "Celebrate the Poem" • Category B "Celebrate the Poet"
Poetry: Category A • The contestant shall perform either one published poem, or an excerpt from only one published poem. The goal of this category is to challenge the contestant to explore a single poetry selection and to communicate its literary style and quality through performance. The poet used in this category may not be used in the other poetry category. Works by an anonymous poet are not permissible.
The contestant must provide biographic information showing that the birthplace, nationality, or naturalized citizenship of the poet is from outside the Americas. No poets from the countries of North America, Central America, and South America and their territories within the Western Hemisphere are allowed.
Poetry: Category B • The contestant shall select one poet and perform two or more published poems, or two or more portions of poems, by that author. The goal of this category is to encourage students to examine the body of an author's poetic works. In the choice of poems for performance, the student should feature some aspect of the poet's work, including but not limited to the following:
Poetry: Category B (cont.) • its development over time, thematic or technical elements, use of imagery, or reflection of the poet's life. The introduction and/or transitions should demonstrate the performer's understanding of the poet's work, as well as seek to enhance the audience's awareness of the poet's work. The poet used in this category may not be used in the other poetry category.
Although this category does not require documentation, the selections must be (a) published works, (b) written by an identified poet (anonymous authors are not permissible), (c) written by a poet other than the one who wrote the selection used for Category A.
Documentation Requirements • Although Category A and B do not require documentation, contest material must meet category restrictions.
Bibliographic Information • Students are urged to take to the contest site the original published source of the selection and/or to add bibliographic information for selections in the form of a footnote on their manuscript copy.
Documentation Types • Reference Book • Published Newspaper • Biographical Passage • Magazine Article • Book Jacket
If an on-line data service is used for documentation, the source of the published material should be included. Other acceptable sources of documentation include • Letterhead stationery from the publishing company or the author verifying the author's place of birth or • Email from the publisher or author verifying the author's place of birth.
Taken from The Leaguer • At the heart of this poetry category is the issue of cultural diversity. Looking at some of the key words in the description of the category found in the Constitution and Contest Rules will give focus to your program and probably add depth to your first impressions of the category. Culture can be defined as a body of customary beliefs, social forms and material traits of a racial, religious or social group.
Diversity deals with differences, and the differences included in the C&CR description paragraph draw the boundaries for this fairly open category: economic, social and political. Your program can explore financial issues, (i.e., the Great Depression), social issues (i.e., the AIDS crisis), or political issues (i.e., the Vietnam War) and be within the realm of its intent. In fact, a good brainstorming session with your teammates or coach can reveal many themes upon which you can build your program of material.
The key issue is: What type of diversity does your theme express? Are you examining the socially different, such as the homeless or the handicapped? Are you exploring the effects of cultural ethnicity? Is the diversity of religions at the heart of your program? Are you reading poetry from the war-torn country of Bosnia or economically depraved Russia? Have you, perhaps, built a program of poems from the American working-class perspective?
Your concern might be: Will the judge perceive what diversity I am exploring? The answer can lie in your introduction and transitions that you build within the program. These will be critical to ensuring that judges and audiences understand the diversity issues you are examining within your program. Just as debaters must keep the "spirit of the resolution clear in their approach to the resolution, so interpreters must keep the "spirit" of this performance category clear.
Keep in the forefront the original intent of this category, which is to explore the differences in mankind, building an understanding of your differences, while exploring great literature. Remember that interpreters must not assume that their critics and audience will automatically comprehend the diversity. It will be advantageous to the performer to use the introduction and transitions to forward the diversity being explored through the poetry selected for the program.
Resources • Internet • Printed • Rules and Ranking