Speech Follies


Michael Hum, Staff Writer

Arcadia High School’s (AHS) Speech and Debate team recently hosted their annual Speech Follies show from Mar. 24 to Mar. 26. This year, Speech Follies showcased all the different sections Speech and Debate offers. The two-hour event was marked with intrigue, drama, and showcased the talented individuals from the team, demonstrating the parts of Speech and Debate: declamation, oratorical interpretation, dramatic interpretation, prose and poetry, advocacy, spontaneous argumentation, and improvisation. 

Most of these acts relate to taking an existing piece of literature and modifying it for dramatic appeal. Declamation takes a speech given publicly and modifies it to demonstrate the new speaker’s eloquence and articulation. For example, a speaker can change Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech by preserving the same effect and meaning but modifying the subject matter to relate to the speaker. For Friday’s show, the declamations were mainly about serious issues, such as domestic abuse and negative comments. 

Prose and poetry consist of speeches the speakers write, which contain poetic elements or are registered as stories. Speakers’ topics in this category vary, but many are personal stories or experiences they can write about.

Dramatic interpretation takes an existing literary work, and the speaker modifies it for dramatic purposes when performing it for an audience. Actions like monologuing, acting out different characters, and changing the voice’s tone and body position are frequently used to convey the dramatic effect. Regarding the books selected, most speakers chose a work with some horror elements, such as Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart.”

The second improvisation opens up the show to the audience; the audience chooses the location and the central conflict for the story, with two people from the audience having to act out the entire scene in the same amount of time. With their infinite creativity and wisdom, the audience came up with eclectic and extremely exaggerated stories, an example from one show being a boy finding out his father is Santa after a therapy session. The show has two improvisations, one from Speech and Debate and the other from the audience, and both were incredibly entertaining to watch.

Lastly, speakers in original advocacy gave a speech relating to advocacy, usually a speech to propose legislation. Speakers must define a societal problem, identify causes and effects, propose a solution to the problem, and try to persuade the audience to support the cause they are campaigning for. 

“I consider Speech Follies to be one of, if not the most important event of the Speech and Debate season,” commented Junior Euan Laru-an. “In tournaments, we perform in front of friends, families and peers.”

“This year, I played a bigger role, doing two events, and performing on two days,” further commented Laru-an. “I definitely worked harder, but it was well worth it being able to entertain the audience.”

With various topics and works showcased, Speech Follies was highly entertaining and informative, demonstrating the hard work the members of Speech and Debate put in to perform for the audience. Congratulations to the members for an excellent show this year!