So what do we do? There are two different kinds of debate and 12 different individual events we participate in. Here's the simple version of what we do - the more detailed descriptions can be found on the various organization websites.
Parliamentary Debate (Parli): Two students work together in a form of debate based loosely on the British Parliament. They have 15 minutes to prepare a case on a topic that is revealed at the start of the round.
Lincoln-Douglas: We participate in NFA Lincoln-Douglas debate. Students compete as individuals against debaters from other teams. This year's topic will deal with the role of the US Southern Command in Latin America.
Policy Debate: We don't participate in 2-person college policy at this time. If you want to learn more, we suggest you consult the CEDA (Cross-Examination Debate Association) or the NDT (National Debate Tournament) websites for more information. LD on the college level is 1-person policy.
The Individual Events are divided into three categories: Interpretation, Limited Prep., and Public Address:
Interpretation Events (Interp)
All the interpretation events are performed with the script in front of you. Your program is up to 10 minutes.
- Dramatic Interpretation: Similar to solo drama. You perform multiple characters from a stage play or screenplay.
- Poetry: You perform one or several poems, organized around a theme or author.
- Prose: You perform sections of essays or short stories.
- Oral Interpretation: You perform 2 of the 3 genres (prose, poetry, drama) in a program organized around a theme. You can even perform your own original literature--but only if you want to (and only one piece).
- Duo Interpretation: You work with a partner. Both of you perform from a stageplay or screenplay, or a program of literature around a theme. Duo predominantly uses off-stage focus (not looking at each other). Movement is allowed.
- Reader's Theater: Three or more people work together on a script that can last up to 25 minutes.
Limited Preparation events
There are two kinds of limited preparation events.
- Extemporaneous Speaking: You have 30 minutes to prepare a 7 minute speech on a topic in current events. We keep files of research to help you in preparing.
- Impromptu Speaking: You have 7 minutes to divide between preparing the speech and giving the speech. Topics can be quotations, cartoons, posters, objects, etc.
Public Address Events
There are several different public address events.
- Informative: 10 minute speech designed to inform an audience. The speech is memorized and uses a variety of sources.
- Persuasive: 10 minute speech where you identify a problem and present a solution to that problem on both an individual level and a larger level.
- After Dinner: 10 minute speech where your goal is to illustrate a serious topic through the use of humor.
- Rhetorical Criticism/Communication Analysis: This is an event unique to the college level. You take a speaker or speech or movement - any critical artifact - and analyze it through a critical methodology.
If you want to learn the exact rules, the NFA website has them both for individual events and Lincoln-Douglas and debate. The NPDA website has the rules for debating as well. Note: the NFA website doesn't list descriptions for Oral Interp. since that event isn't done at the NFA National tournament. The AFA-NIET website has the complete rules for POI (see the rules link), and the Phi Rho Pi site has the rules for Readers' Theater (scroll down to Interpreter's Theater).