The GFCA (Georgia Forensic Coaches Association) has adopted the competition “Program of Interpretation” as a replacement for Prose and Poetry. The Program of Interpretation shares many attributes and skills with the competition of Prose and Poetry described herein.
Purpose of Prose and Poetry Interpretation
Prose and Poetry Interpretation (PP), is an individual event where the student delivers a mixed selection of literature appropriate for the student’s personality and maturity. Rather than using a piece chosen from a single source as in other interpretation events, in PP selections may be cut from a single source or several options developing a specific theme. The student provides enough introduction for advising the audience of the title and author, as well as how the literature choices relate to the issue of the program. The source for a prose and poetry piece may include published printed novels, short stories, plays, poems, and motion picture screenplays.
In presenting the PP Interpretation, the student conveys through oral interpretation the literature performed, with the emphasis placed on the story. A good Prose and Poetry performer will use diction, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, intonation, and pace of speech to improve the interpretation. However, the individual should avoid gestures or physical movement that distract from the literature rather than enhances the performance and understanding.
Video – Prose for Performance: Introduction to Prose for Performance
Rules for Prose and Poetry Competition
Judges emphasize the literature more in Prose and Poetry than in other events. Therefore, students must use a manuscript, even if the presentation is from memory. The performer must at least give the impression that they are referring to the document during the performance. No other props are allowed besides the manuscript and cover.
Students may not use selections from the same sources to those used in a prior event, either in past years or different categories during the current school year. During a particular tournament, the competitor must use the same selection throughout the competition, but the student may not use the work for any other division.
The student or his or her coach must have the source of the material used for the piece of work available to provide to the tournament director at any time the director requests. When a student is not capable of producing a copy, then he or she will be ineligible for at least one round.
Usually, the introduction, which is required, is given at a natural break point about a minute or two into the delivery of the selection. The opening provides the name of the author and title of the work, and the contestant briefly discusses the theme developed by the performance.
There is a 10-minute time limit in Prose and Poetry competition with a maximum 30 second grace period for going over the time limit.
Tips for success in PP:
- Choose a great selection that is original, interesting, humorous or moving. Having a quality piece will set you apart, especially if it compliments your personality and ability.
- Don’t skimp on the introduction. Work hard to make the intro match the tone of your selection and make sure to close your binder to differentiate the opening from your literature.
- Be careful when doing poetry to avoid repetitive voice patterns. Use your interpretive skills to provide the poetry with an original interpretation of your own.
- Use feedback in Prose and Poetry to determine the effectiveness of your selections. Choose selections that benefit the most from your style to avoid low scores.
- Use published works to avoid finding out that your final product is not as good as you think. Proven and published works give you credibility and inhibit a judge from reacting harshly toward the quality of the piece.