During the 2019 competitive season, Malyssa and Kirt discussed each of the Wisconsin Forensic Coaches' Association categories offered at that time.
As a resource for coaches, here are those discussions edited down to just include our category analysis and recommendations.
Part 1: Prose, Poetry & Oral Interp (OIL)
Part 1: Prose, Poetry, OIL
00:00 / 34:22

What did we learn?

  • When selecting a Prose piece, try to find a selection that tells a complete story: beginning, middle & end. Personal essays, short stories, and memoirs are great resources.

  • Poetry pieces can be a single piece, but we prefer poetry programs that feature multiple writers and/or perspectives.

  • Despite popular opinion, we believe interpreting literature IS a form of acting. Approach the interpretation of these pieces the same way you would an acting piece. Examine the motivations, context, and personality of the writer/character you are portraying. Bring that person/people to life!

Part 2: Demonstration Speaking & Informative Speaking
Part 2: Demo & Info
00:00 / 30:30

What did we learn?

  • When selecting a topic, choose something that interests you and strikes the right balance between a topic your audience has never heard of and one that your audience already knows a lot about. Aim for something your audience is familiar with but you can fill in a lot of gaps.

  • Demonstration speeches are not exhibitions of talent or skill. You must teach your audience how to do something.

  • Informative speeches don't have to tell the whole story. Pique the curiosity of your audience so they want to go out and learn even more.

  • Practice in front of others. If there is something that confuses them, change it. And speaking of changing things, don't stick with your first draft. You wrote the speech. You can improve it throughout the season.

Part 3: Solo Acting (w/ former competitor Allie Macknick)
Part 3: Solo Acting
00:00 / 45:25

What did we learn?

  • While most states/organizations separate humorous and dramatic acting into separate categories, successful pieces usually include both moments of levity and seriousness.

  • When looking for a piece, find something worthwhile.

  • Focus on internalizing each character (finding the truth) rather than presentation. The character should inform the choices made in movement and blocking. Movement without intention will seem hollow to your audience.

  • Coaches: Sometimes you will reach your limit on how much you can improve student performances. Don't be afraid to allow students to work with others who can push them further.

  • Be ready to let parts of your piece go, even if you love them.

Part 4: Moments in History
Part 4: Moments in History
00:00 / 20:09

What did we learn?

  • When selecting a topic, make sure it will resonate with your audience. (In other words, why does this matter?)

  • Malyssa recommends going to the 11th page in a Google search on your time period to avoid selecting a topic that everyone else is doing.

  • Visual aids should be visually appealing and not distract from your performance. If you don't have a clear idea of the role your visual aid will play in your presentation, skip it.

Part 5: Farrago (w/ fellow coach Ben Kroll)
Part 5: Farrago
00:00 / 47:26

What did we learn?

  • When picking topics for Farrago, consider using social issues. Articles and opinion pieces can often be used in interesting ways for these topics.

  • Gather pieces of writing constantly, even if you don't know how you'll use them. 

  • Don't just find pieces about your topic. Find pieces about how you feel about your topic. Use farrago to advocate for something you believe in.

  • When practicing, run through each of your selections individually to create clearly distinguished tones and/or deliveries for each piece. (This is most helpful for students mixing their pieces into a transitionless farrago.)

Part 6: Radio Announcing
Part 6: Radio
00:00 / 26:15

What did we learn?

  • The challenge of a great radio announcer is to be engaging from the first moment to the last moment while maintaining an easy-to-listen-to pace.

  • Radio announcers should bring their personality to the delivery to make the experience for listeners greater than just reading the news as text. Sound like you understand and care about what you're reading. 

  • The simplest thing you can do to be good at radio announcing is to listen to the radio. (And by radio, we mean NPR.)

  • You can not practice radio by yourself. Students, insist your coaches help you by creating radio packets and listening to your delivery.

Part 7: Play Acting
Part 7: Play Acting
00:00 / 29:31

What did we learn?

  • Focus on character development.

  • Take advantage of the ability to make eye contact and physical contact.

  • Introduction is very important in setting up the moment for your audience.

Part 8: Special Occasion
Part 8: Special Occasion
00:00 / 36:41

What did we learn?

  • Base your speech in reality.

  • Setting the scene is just as important here as it is in interp/acting introductions.

  • Personal anecdotes are a great jumping-off point.

Part 9: Storytelling
Part 9: Storytelling
00:00 / 29:58

What did we learn?

  • Embrace non-fiction storytelling.

  • Don’t be afraid to test the physical boundaries of the chair.

  • Local librarians are a great resource for source material.

Part 10: Extemporaneous Speaking & Impromptu Speaking
Part 10: Extemp & Impromptu
00:00 / 41:19

What did we learn?

  • The way to succeed at limited prep is doing unlimited preparations before the tournament. (Filing and practice speeches).

  • Extemp students should have some quotes that can be widely applicable to use in introductions.

  • Personal anecdotes are essential in impromptu.

Part 11: Group Interp (w/ fellow coach Antonio Trinidad)
Part 11: Group Interp
00:00 / 34:45

What did we learn?

  • Find students who have the same/similar schedule.

  • Try to block movements that are symbolic and not just movement for movement’s sake.

  • Source pieces from unexpected places. Anywhere where people might tell a story.


Part 12: Oratory (w/ legendary coach Pam Cady Wycoff)
Part 12: Oratory
00:00 / 56:28

What did we learn?

  • Students should pick a topic they actually care about.

  • Never present a problem that you cannot provide a solution for.

  • Strive for a relaxed presentation style with organic gestures.

  • If you only ever listen to one episode of Forensics Faces, this is the one.

For a downloadable version of any of these episodes, please contact us at