NCFL Massachusetts Combined Qualifier
2023 — Shrewsbury, MA/US
ï‚· Maximum - 10 minutes, including at most a 60 second introduction to the selection.
ï‚· If the speaker goes over a 30 second grace period, that contestant must not be awarded first place. ï‚· No minimum time.
Rules of Procedure:
ï‚· A selection used in Oratorical Declamation must have been originally delivered in the form a speech by its author, a person other than the present speaker. The speaker should have an introduction which is at most one minute and names the work, author, and describes the circumstances under which the speech was originally presented. The original speaker's words must not be altered for the presentation with the exception that cutting is permitted. Selections may include professional speeches, public orations, eulogies, and sermons.
ï‚· The selection must be memorized. If the speaker refers to prepared notes of any kind or a script during the presentation, the speaker will be disqualified.
ï‚· No particular style should be demanded of the speaker; rather, the contestant should be free to select and to develop a personal style and be judged according to the degree of perfection attained and the effectiveness in influencing the listeners. While the specifics of the speech and any style of delivery which the speaker adopts should be judged in light of the purpose of the speech, artificiality is to be discredited. This event is an interpretation, not an impersonation.
ï‚· This event is limited to freshman and sophomore students.
ï‚· No properties or costumes of any kind may be used. Using “properties” means manipulating articles of clothing or objects to enhance the performance. Speakers using properties and/or wearing costumes will be disqualified.
ï‚· Positions other than standing should not be excessive in length or dominate the performance.
• Introduction: The introduction should name the work and author, provide necessary background information, and establish the mood. If using a teaser or if lines from the selection are used in the introduction, the speakers must adhere to the rules of the event.
• Projection of Literature: The interpreter should demonstrate a clear understanding of the literature and project its meaning, message, and tone. The speaker should capture and convey the plot and/or development. Imagery should be carefully colored so as to promote audience understanding and appreciation. In a presentation of a collection, there should be a unity to the program as a whole, made clear by the introduction and transitional material. Consideration should be given to the literary merit of the selection(s).
• Narrator/Character Creation: The narrator should be believable and conversational. The narrator should be able to lead the audience through the details of the literature, keeping a consistent and clear attitude toward people, objects, and events within the literature. In collections, the interpreter should develop and maintain unique and distinct narrative voices for each selection within the program. If they are utilized, character voices should be distinctive, consistent, and appropriate to the character. The interpreter should be able to demonstrate the characters’ feelings and thoughts through the use of vocal inflections, facial expressions including visualization, and appropriate intensity.
• Visualization: The interpreter should help the audience to see the particular world of the narrator. The interpreter should establish a strong sense of environment. The interpreter should be able to see and replay the events described or recalled in the literature.
• Vocal Variety: The interpreter should appropriately vary pitch, volume, rate, and intensity to convey the various moods and messages in the literature. Appropriate words should be stressed for clarity and understanding. The interpreter should appropriately play with sound devices such as alliteration and attend to the sound and meaning of every word. For poetry, the interpreter should capture and effectively vary existing poetic rhythm, making use of rhyme when necessary and avoiding it when not.
• Audience and Script Contact: The interpreter should invite the audience into the presentation, directing eye contact and expressing his or her feelings to individual audience members when appropriate and necessary and consulting the script when it is not. The interpreter should focus away from the audience and the script effectively during moments of internal and private thoughts. There should be a natural balance between the audience and script where one does not take precedence over the other. The interpreter should stay in the moment, with facial expression and emotional consistency when making contact with the manuscript.
• Overall Effect: The overall performance should build to various moments and have a climax. The performance should be easy to follow and complete. The performance should display another world outside of the performance space. Additional Judging Criteria (from the Bylaws)
• The performer has the burden to be clear at all times which piece is being used.
• Speakers should keep eye contact between audience and manuscript in reasonable balance. Speakers who fail to maintain the illusion of reading from the manuscript must not be ranked first.
• Speakers should keep gesture and bodily movement to a minimum. The selection should be delivered from center stage. Movement and gestures, if used, should be appropriate to the selection. Speakers should not walk during performances. They should emphasize vocal variety and facial expression to enhance the literary interpretation.
• While singing is permitted, it should not be excessive or dominate the performance. Judges’ ranks may reflect if singing has dominated the performance.