Oral Interpretation of Literature

  • What is Oral Interpretation of Prose? (Rules from PHSSL)
    • Selections used in this event must be in prose form. Selections from drama are not to be used. The intent of PHSSL is that all materials presented in interpretation events must be available to all members of the league. All selections must be published or commercially available in print, audio, or video form. At PHSSL tournaments, contestants must bring the published copies of their selection with an ISBN or ISSN in either print, audio or video form, with title page or audio/video credits included. If the original copy does not have an ISBN or ISSN, the coach or supervising adult must be able to show that the original was purchased or obtained commercially, ie. a bill of sale from a literary agent or publisher, or that the original is publicly available by internet URL and retrieval date. 
    • The author's words as published in the literature may not be altered for the presentation with the exception that cutting is permitted. Material being performed at the PHSSL tournament must match the student’s original script.
    • The reader must hold the book or manuscript.
    • Each reader shall give a brief introduction to the reading. The purposes of the introduction are to arouse the interest of the audience and to provide the necessary background for the reading. The contestant may sing up to 30 seconds when singing is part of the original selection. Violations will result in disqualification from the tournament.
    • The maximum time limit for the reading, including the introduction, shall be ten minutes.
    • The reader is permitted to change the selection during a tournament and/or from the District to State Tournament.
    What Is Oral Interpretation of Poetry? (Rules from PHSSL)
    • Selections used in this event must be in poetic form. Selections from drama are not to be used. The intent of PHSSL is that all materials presented in interpretation events must be available to all members of the league. All selections must be published or commercially available in print, audio, or video form. At PHSSL tournaments, contestants must bring the published copies of their selection with an ISBN or ISSN in either print, audio or video form, with title page or audio/video credits included. If the original copy does not have an ISBN or ISSN, the coach or supervising adult must be able to show that the original was purchased or obtained commercially, ie. a bill of sale from a literary agent or publisher, or that the original is publicly available by internet URL and retrieval date. 
    • The author's words as published in the literature may not be altered for the presentation with the exception that cutting is permitted. Material being performed at the PHSSL tournament must match the student’s original script.
    • The reader must hold the book or manuscript.
    • Each reader shall give a brief introduction to all readings. The purposes of this introduction is to stimulate interest and supply the necessary background for the reading. The contestant may sing up to 30 seconds when singing is part of the original selection. Violations will result in disqualification from the tournament.
    • The maximum time limit of the prepared reading, including the introduction, shall be ten minutes.
    • The reader is permitted to change the selection during a tournament and/or from the District to State Tournament.
    What is Oral Interpretation of Literature? (Rules from NCFL)
    1. The speaker shall prepare two programs of literature from manuscripts. Each program shall consist of a single piece, a cutting, or a series of short pieces united by author or theme. One program shall be published prose; the other; published poetry. If using a series of poems, all titles and authors must be cited. The performer has the burden, if juxtaposing poems, to be clear at all times which poem is being used. The intent of the NCFL is that all materials presented in interpretation events must be available and readily accessible to all members of the league. At the NCFL tournament, coaches should bring an original script with an ISBN, ISSN, or IFFN, or eBook Number and Library Name. If the script does not have an ISBN, ISSN, or IFFN, or eBook Number and Library Name, the coach or supervising adult must be able to show that the script was purchased or obtained commercially, i.e. from a literary agent or publisher or bill of sale or is publicly available by internet URL and retrieval date. Each program shall contain an introduction for purposes of explication, setting, or selection transitions. Lines attributed to one character in the published source may not be attributed to another character in the performance. The author's words as published in the literature may not be altered for the presentation with the exception that cutting is permitted. Material being performed at the NCFL tournament must match student’s original script. 
    2. The literature chosen may include any form of prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction, except drama and strictly oratorical composition written to be delivered in real-life, such as monologues from a play.
    3. No props of any kind are permitted with the exception of the speaker’s manuscript. 
    4. Speakers should keep eye contact between audience and manuscript in reasonable balance. Speakers who fail to maintain the illusion of reading from the manuscript may not be ranked first.
    5. Speakers should keep gesture and bodily movement to a minimum. The selection must be delivered from center stage. Movement and gestures, if used, should be appropriate to the selection. Walking is not permitted. They should emphasize vocal variety and facial expression to enhance the literary interpretation. Any singing must be limited to a maximum of thirty (30) seconds total within the presentation. 
    6. Speakers may use a persona, and they may use character voices; but they are not necessary.
    7. Important consideration should be given to the quality of the selection.
    8. Time limits: Maximum - 10 minutes. This includes at most 1 minute of introductory and transition material other than the author's words. If the speaker goes over a 30 second grace period, that contestant may not be awarded first place. No minimum time.