Oral Interpretation of Literature


In South Dakota, the oral interpretation season runs during the fall of the year.  South Dakota offers several categories of oral interpretation competition.  They include:

bulletNon-Original Oratory
bulletSerious Prose
bulletSerious Drama
bulletDuet Interp
bulletReaders Theatre

    All events have a 10 minute maximum time period and all events require scripts as well.  All events except readers' theatre require publication.

Some links to potential sites might be helpful.  Here is a link to additional sites.


A student entered in poetry may elect to take a portion of a longer work or a program of several poems that are linked together somehow.  They may be tied together by the subject of the poem or by the author.  They may even be tied together by the tone or mood of the works. 


Non-Original Oratory

Non-Original Oratory may be speeches or essays.  A wide variety of material has been tried in this event.  Try to find a topic that you are interested in with a thesis with which you agree and life will be easier for you.

Serious Prose

Serious prose comes from a novel or short story.  It should be serious in nature.  That does not mean it has to end in death.  The best serious prose pieces generally have vivid images that the reader is able to create in the audience's mind.  They may have humorous moments as well.  Find a novel or short story you love and just find the part or parts that you really enjoy.  You may use just one part or tie 2 or maybe even 3 parts of the book together.

Serious Drama

The only difference between serious drama and serious prose is that drama must come from a PLAY.  That means that all lines are dialogue and there is no narration.  Many works appear in both prose and play version.  This category includes screen plays.


Everyone wants to be a comedian and everyone thinks they are funny.  This category proves who really is and who isn't.  Material may be prose or play.

Duet Interp

Two students compete together in this category.  They may take the parts of no more than two people.  The material comes from a play and it may be serious or humorous in nature.

Readers Theatre

Three to six students may work together in this category.  Material choice is really wide open as participants may find a script that they like or they may write their own.  Spoofs or takeoffs of some well known literature or event often works well.  Working as a unit is important.     

Drama and Oral Interp Sites

Baker's Plays
Samuel French Plays
Dramatists Play Service
Brooklyn Publishing
Pioneer Drama
The Consortium
Dramatic Publishing