Dramatic Performance

Dramatic Performance (DP) is an event in which the student memorizes and presents a selection of literature. Contrary to its name, selections can be either dramatic or humorous. The presentation should include an introduction that cites the name of the piece and the author. Speakers should develop the narrative and/or character(s) via vocal and physical techniques, without the use of props or costumes.

The presentation must be from a single published play, script, or fictional or non-fictional work, not poetry. Material from more than one author is not allowed. The author's words as published in the literature may not be altered for this presentation with the exception that cutting is permitted.

Competitors often use multi-character selections to tell relatable stories, suspending the disbelief of the audience by portraying a realistic, emotional journey of a character(s). When doing multiple characterizations, the performer should create effective interaction between the characters. While singing is permitted, it should not be excessive or dominate the performance. Judges will rank students based on which performer best captured the essence, characteristics, and emotions of the character or characters that they were portraying.

Time limit: Maximum of 10 minutes. While no minimum is prescribed, performances of less than 7-8 minutes often receive lower scores.

Summary of Judging Criteria

  • Introduction: The introduction should name the work and author, provide necessary background information, and establish the mood.
  • Material: Single or multiple character cuttings should be considered equally. The student should be able to capture and convey the emotional and intellectual depths of the characters, as well as the development of both the characterization and plot.
  • Characterization: Each character should be interesting, engaging, and lifelike. The performer should create a physical, vocal, and temperamental existence suited for each character. The performer should use their face, eyes, and body to create the characters effectively. Each character should show the intent of what he/she is wanting, thinking, feeling, and remembering when speaking and reacting.
  • Environment: Each character should create a world around him or her. Movement should be used to create a three-dimensional environment in which the characters exist. Pantomime, if used, should be accurate and realistic.
  • Overall Effect: The overall performance should build to various moments and have a climax. The story should be complete and easy to follow. The performance should display another world outside of the performance space.