|Billings Senior High Forensics
Among all fears, one stands alone as number one for the majority of Americans. Their palms sweat and itch, their throat catches, and they can't help but imagine how stupid they look in front of all of those people...
Well, welcome to the home of the people who voluntarily face this fear down each and every single day. Speech competitors, fondly referred to as speechies, are an interesting bunch. All you need to do is to look at them--you can see the speechie in their eyes.
Their creative, original, wacky, and always ready to "just say yes." Sometimes they're formal--especially at competition--and sometimes even shy, but you can always see that little something that points them out. Think this sounds like your kind of thing? Well, then just give it a shot in any of these competitions:
Original Oratory (OO): This is a speech that is uniquely written by the individual giving it. The speaker may use techniques such as vocal emphasis, gestures, and emotional appeal. The topics are typically either emotional in nature, or deal with a problem and solution.
Oral Interpretations of literature: In this event, the speaker has the job of analyzing a literaty selection and communicating it effectively to an audience. These events are the only ones which allow the speaker to use a script. There are three of these events: humorous oral interpretation (HOI), serious oral interpretation (SOI), and duo. Duo invlolves two speakers who can't look at one another. They are allowed to move around the competition area, and are even allowed to sing in their competitions. SOI is more serious and sad, and HOI is hilarious and full of energy. Both of the "OI" events share several things in common as well. Most tournaments allow the use of a binder, the speaker must stay rooted to the spot and may not move, and the actions that accompany the script are often a large part of the show.
Memorized Public Address (MPA): MPA competitors have the task of memorizing another speech that has already been told, typically by someone famous for that speech, and conveying it in the best manner possible. No script is allowed, and competitors have the ability to move within a certain degree.
Expository speaking (Expos): The challenge in this event is for the speaker to give a speech that instructs, demonstrates, or enlightens. In this event there are virtually no limits on topic. This is the only speech event which allows for the use of a visual aid.
Impromptu: This is the speech event that may as well have coined the term "think fast." In impromptu, the speaker must prepare a three to five minute speech on a social, moral, or ethical topic with only three minutes of preperation. Competitors had best be able to think quick on their feet and work well under pressure.
Extemporaneous speaking (extemp): This speech event consists of a speech that is 5-7 minutes in length on a current, newsworthy topic. Logic and persuasion are key. Extempers carry "evidence" tubs much like debaters on current news issues so that they have some backup for their thirty minutes of preperation. For this reason, many extempers are trained on the debate side of forensics.
No matter which event a competitor is involved in, they all share atleast one thing in common. The speech class. For the average person who thinks that speaking at all is fearful, it must be supposed that the class must be a true horror story, right? Well, according to Miss Lovec, that is certainly not the case. In her own words, "We really have a good time in this class
while we learn speech strategies and practice techniques. Every day we examine a vocabulary word associated with speech or theater. Then we do a warm-up involving our voices and sometimes our bodies, too. Improvisation is explored to increase student confidence in performing, promote free association of ideas, and develope a sense of ensemble work. We practice script readings to improve verbal delivery and experience some of the great playwright's materials. Students give formal speeches such as persuasion, informational, critiques, and dramatic deliveries after hearing examples and instruction. Also, time is alotted for compettitors to find scripts and practice with coaches. We have a lot of fun helping each other grow as speakers and performers!"