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SpeechGeek

Season Twelve: Fall 2014
ISBN 978-1-61387-070-9 Price $25 US
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SpeechGeek
SpeechGeek
ISBN 978-1-61387-070-9
Corey Alderdice
Editor and Publisher
Email:
thegeek@speechgeek.com
248 Arlington Park Dr.
Hot Springs, AR 71901
(888) 742-2028
SpeechGeek is published up to
four times per year: August,
October, December, and April by
Corey Alderdice, 248 Arlington
Park Dr., Hot Springs, AR 71901.
Special issues are also published
from time to time.
ht t p: / / www. s peec hgeek. c om
SpeechGeek
Season Twelve:
Fall 2014
Is it autumn already? It seems
like just yesterday we were
loading up the car to drive up
to Kansas City for the National
Speech and Debate Associa-
tion National Tournament. So
much for our internal clocks.
It was an awesome summer,
though! We introduced new
buttons! We made new
friends! We even experi-
mented with a new t-shirt
design. Through an informal
partnership with the Women’s
Debate Institute, we sold a
series of “Debate Like a Girl”
t-shirts to help raise money for
their summer camp. We took
pre-orders for one week and
managed to raise over a
thousand dollars to provide
scholarships for deserving
young women.
We had a ton of fun, and we’re
thinking about doing it again.
Plus, we’d love to welcome
your ideas. Is there a national
non-profit organization whose
efforts benefit folks in speech
and debate that you’d like to
see get a bit more attention?
Send your ideas to
thegeek@speechgeek.com.
Best of luck this season!
Corey Alderdice
Publisher
In This Issue:
Season Twelve: Fall 2014
Dramatic Interpretation (Female)
The Extra Woman
by Josh Fleming..................................................................................04
Prose Interpretation (Female)
When I Made Him Cry
by Doug McConnaha.......................................................................08
Dramatic Interpretation (Male)
Between Notes
by Matt Mills........................................................................................10
Duo Interpretation (Male/Female)
A Brother’s Love
by Doug McConnaha.......................................................................14
Humorous/Duo Interpretation
The Great American Cookie Duel
by Matt Mills........................................................................................18
4
(A WOMAN lays in a hospital bed.)
WOMAN. There are four ways to die - fast, slow, gory, or neat. Now from there
you can do all types of combinations. Fast/Neat. Slow/Gory. Slow
and neat is my favorite because that’s when I really get to show off
my skill. A lot of people say the death scene is over done, but not
me. I’ve died 53 times, and it’s always different. I think that’s why I
like death so much; it’s the variety.
Now, the first time I ever kicked the bucket, I was on the verge of
being evicted. I needed some money fast and was scanning the
classifieds for a good telemarketing job. I know that’s not the most
glamorous job, but if you find one that pays well—plus sleep with
your supervisor—you can be back on top in a couple of weeks. So,
I’m looking for a job in the paper when I see an ad for movie extras
in a low budget film. “No acting experience necessary,” it said.
Now I have to confess, much like many other people when they
were young, it had been my childhood dream to be a movie star. I
had been in pageants and Christmas plays, I even played Dorothy
in a Wizard of Oz production for deaf kids (you should have heard
them clap). But those dreams faded with the onset of breasts, boys,
shoplifting, and a raving case of herpes. Not all dreams can come
true, right? Well, I saw this as my chance—even if in a minimal
way—to fulfill that child’s dream.
The movie was called Living Lies. I played a waitress who was
mercilessly gunned down while pouring coffee for the lead actor. I
had one line: “Would you life more coffee, sir?”
I was no Audrey Hepburn, but Audrey Hepburn never had a bullet
rip through her back and spurt out the front splattering the custom
ers. I did, and I got paid five hundred dollars for it!
After that I played a young, unwed mother who dies from an alien
that is eating her brain. I had four lines, all given while dying in the
arms of my eight-year-old son. Later on, he told me that I really
made him cry.
Well, I never looked back after that. I auditioned for every extra
role I could find. Soon enough I was getting cast in minor roles, all
with death scenes. Producers now know me as the “Death Woman.”
I’m becoming highly sought after in the realm of B movies. In fact,
by Josh Fleming
The Extra Woman
5
after this, I have to go die in a car crash. I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve never died in a car before.
But aside from it paying the bills and fulfilling a dream, I really seem
to have a knack for dying. Many directors have told me that I have
a hauntingly natural way of passing from existence.
“Hauntingly natural…”
Haven’t you always wanted something like that said about what you
do?
“You have a hauntingly natural way of barbequing.”
“You have a hauntingly natural way of petting animals. It’s as if you
were born for it.”
And I think that’s how it is for me. I was born to die.
There’s just something about creating a life, giving it a voice, a face,
a soul, and whether she has two lines or fifty, making that life real
enough to then be able to take it away. Fast. Slow. Gory. Neat.
Birth to death with the snap of your finger… And then, after the
director calls cut and the lights are turned off, I open my eyes and
step out of that dead figure I was just lying in on the floor. And then,
I am me again. Real me. Alive me. Exhilarated me.
But each time afterwards, I’m absorbed with this unshakable sense
of reincarnation. As if I keep coming back as myself until I get it
right.
And that’s why I’m afraid of dying. Of death! The actual, physical,
real life concept… Don’t get me wrong. I accept death as an
inevitable factor of life. We live in a world of uncertainty. I could
die when I am ninety-nine and everybody I love is around me
knowing time is weighing heavy on my body. There would be an
obituary in the paper touting my longevity and what a kind,
generous, compassionate—did I say kind?—and loving person I
was. Or… I could be out walking my dog tomorrow on the outskirts
of the city and be the hapless victim of a derailed train.
Fast. Slow. Gory. Neat. Whichever way my demise comes, I want
to be prepared for it so I can give the best performance of my
career. But there’s no real preparing, is there? At no point will there
be a moment of revelation and I will say to myself: “These are the
last lines I will ever say.”
8
The first time I ever saw my father cry I was only nine years old. It was
summer, and I was outside running around with my best friend Alice. We were
kicking one of those giant balls back and forth when Alice kicked it over my head
and over the fence.
Our neighbors had an old barbed wire fence, which was five feet tall and
made it taller than me. I looked through the strands of wire at the ball and was
thinking about going into the house to tell my dad. He was busy working in his shop
in the garage, and I knew how much it bothered him to be interrupted even though
he acted like it didn’t. Being a single dad wasn’t easy, but no one did a better job at
it than he did.
As I stood there wondering what to do next, Alice said, “What are you
waiting for? Go get it.” And I said, “I’m not the one that kicked it over the fence,”
figuring that my logic would either buy me some time or convince Alice to get the
ball. Alice, who later did debate in high school, said, “You were supposed to catch it
or block it. If you had done your part, the ball wouldn’t have gone over the fence.
And, besides, it’s your yard.”
“Fine,” I said. “I’ll get the ball.”
I pondered my best option and decided that if I propped up the bottom
strand of barbed wire, I could slide under it. Alice and I got wood from the wood pile
and made two stacks with a space between them. I lay flat on the ground and did
my best to look cool while slithering on the ground. My hair got snagged, which
made me panic for a second, and Alice just reached down and untangled it. So
much for cool. I got into the neighbor’s yard, grabbed the ball, and tossed it back
over the fence. Feeling triumphant, I practically dove under the fence.
They say that time slows down at certain moments in your life and that you
notice small details. At first, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t move. Then I felt
sharp pain on the back of my head. I tried to move again and the pain exploded. I
started to yell, and I heard Alice yell also, saying “Don’t move! Don’t move!” She
sounded scared. She ran across the yard and into the house. I heard her shrieking to
my dad that I was bleeding all over the place.
I went from scared to really scared, especially now that I realized the sweat
running down my face wasn’t just sweat.
I started to scream and cry and thrash. That didn’t help.
My father came running up and got down on his knees. He was yelling for
me to hold still and stop screaming. He told me that I was caught on the fence. He
grabbed the barbed wire with one hand and moved my head with the other one. He
told me to slowly move forward and that he had the wire out of the way. I couldn’t
see clearly through the tears but I knew that as long as my dad was there, it was
going to be okay. So I stopped crying and started to move forward. It seemed to
take forever, and my dad just kept talking to me. Then I was being picked up and
carried to the car. My dad yelled at Alice to go open the back door and get in. He set
me in the back seat and told Alice to hold her hand on the back of my head to help
When I Made Him Cry
by Doug McConnaha
11
fatigue—just to pay the rent. But music...music is all I’ve ever
understood.
After over a decade of odd jobs and learning the hard way, I was
fortunate enough to be hired on in the music department here at
NYU. I have to say I’m fortunate, because I know it could be a lot
worse. But this was hardly my dream. Somewhere along the way,
my dreams trapped me and led me into my nightmare. (grows
increasingly uncomfortable, goes to retrieve violin and bow from
the case)
(slowly stares at violin while speaking to the audience) I stay up all
night, staring at my instruments. In between every piano key, every
stroke of the violin, the humming fluorescent lights ring in my ear
with voices. Voices that clamor on and on, “You’re not good enough.
You’re a burden, an embarrassment.”
I found my father when I was seventeen, you know. I figured that
before I moved across the country to fill the hole he left inside of
me, I’d make sure that hole existed in the first place. So, I tried. I
wanted to meet him. After reaching out, (beat) he didn’t want to
meet me. (starts to play, his movements and strokes match the
intensity of his words) I could understand if it were out of pain, or
guilt, but he simply didn’t care. He didn’t care about me. That I
even existed. He didn’t care enough to waste the time it would take
to meet me. Apathy—cold, lifeless, silent apathy. I failed. I’m the
failure that isn’t worth his time. I don’t deserve love from him. I don’t
deserve love from anybody. And every time I try to push the
memory away, the voices keep coming back, the fluorescent lights
beating down on m, over and over and over and over, “You’re not
good enough; you’re an embarrassment! You’re not good enough;
you’re an embarrassment!” Over and over again until finally I just
SNAP!
(Josh furiously throws his violin at the ground. He stares at it, awed by his own anger.
He breathes, tries to collect himself, walks to a piano, then gently starts playing.)
Music is how I come back, back from the dark and away from my
thoughts. I can’t remember the first time I played a note, but there’s
something in my blood that won’t let me abandon that feeling it
gives me. The sedation music brings that seeps through your veins,
infiltrating your brain as you play. I play a song that stems from
myself, my own creation.
I’ve been teaching here for about ten years now, and I don’t plan on
leaving anytime soon. The kids I work with on a day-to-day basis
10
(JOSH, a middle-aged professor, prepares a violin — tunes it, collects his bow -– all
with calculated grace. He plays. Throughout his lecture, he demonstrates a variety of
instruments.)
JOSH. I love the violin. In a single moment, it can transform from a sound
as soft as rain to unbridled rage. A collection of wood and metal
smaller than an infant, it can encapsulate the entire range of human
emotion and force an audience to experience those feelings, too.
Listen. (draws the violin to chin, draws the bow across) Strings start
crossing strings to create vibrations that ricochet through space
until they land in our ears. Fingers press and pluck in particular
positions to manipulate the strings. When you find the right vibra
tions, when you move your fingers just so… (illustrates, then smiles)
ta-da! You have music. Sure, there’s a scientific explanation behind
the acoustics, but the way those sounds and vibrations can come
together to make you feel something… It is nothing short of
magical.
I wasn’t always this awesome at music, believe it or not. They never
tell you just how much work goes into learning an instrument,
especially teaching yourself. I mean, if they were honest about how
difficult it is, how many people would still try it? “Hey, want to spend
hours of your life working on a skill that you will never be the best at
and will have almost no prospect of making you money?” Oh, whoa,
you all don’t need to jump out of your seats at once!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Joshua Ratliff. I am
a musician. Surprise! Believe me, I wish I weren’t. (begins tuning
the instrument) Life would be so much simpler if I hadn’t fallen
head over heels in love with music the first time I tried it. By age
nine, I had mastered the piano. Age ten: the guitar. Age twelve: the
flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, drums, bass,
upright bass, electric bass, synthetic bass, and the accordion.
(plucks a string, makes a disapproving face) That last one wasn’t
as popular with the ladies as you might think, but that was never
what it was about.
I grew up in a mid-sized, middle class home in the middle of the
Midwest. And as fate would have it, I was the middle child. Yeah.
My mother—and I mean this with love, Mom—was absolutely
talentless. She was an accountant at a Fortune 500 Company, the
pantsuit, coffee mug, and hair-bun type. Needless to say, she didn’t
Between Notes
by Matt Mills
15
JULIA. The student was too ashamed to claim it. Johann was in that class
with me. He asked the professor after class about how to find the
American radio station. I was afraid that Johann would be taken as
well.
ANDREW. Johann! He is nothing but trouble. His father didn’t even serve in the
army during the war. You will stay away from him. He will only bring
you trouble.
JULIA. I like him. He is not pretentious. He doesn’t go around spouting
Party slogans and acting like he’s important.
ANDREW. You were not like this before you went away. Being at the university
has changed you. And not for the better. Perhaps the authorities
should consider…
JULIA. Consider what! Closing it? Arresting all the teachers? What is the
Party afraid of?
ANDREW. The Party doesn’t fear the words of a few old men.
JULIA. Oh, no? Well does it fear the words of a young man? Johann and I
are leaving before something else happens.
ANDREW. Leaving for where?
JULIA. America. We are leaving tonight. We have the right papers and
some money. We want to see it for ourselves. We want to go
together. We are going to be married. I want my children to grow up
in a place where they don’t have to worry about someone spying on
them.
ANDREW. I won’t allow it! I won’t let you marry a traitor, and I won’t let you
leave East Berlin. Father would be ashamed if he were alive. He
would have killed Johann with his own hands.
JULIA. Just because you are my brother doesn’t mean that you are in
charge of my life. I go where I please and with whom I please. I will
not stay here and watch you turn into some heartless monster like
Father was.
ANDREW. (He slaps JULIA twice, hard. She falls to her knees. He grabs her
and forces her into the chair. She covers her face and sobs as he
rants at her). How dare you call Father a monster! How dare you plot
against the Party! You don’t know anything! You’re a stupid child
who doesn’t understand what is happening in the world. You think
that just because a boy makes eyes at you and tells you he loves you
that you can throw away your life. You think that you can run from
what you are? You are the daughter of a loyal German soldier; you
are the property of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik!
JULIA. (calms down and speaks with control) You have no right to strike
me. I will not stay here anymore. Look at you. You are so self-
important, so arrogant. You can’t stop me.
ANDREW. I already have. Do you think that someone like Johann wasn’t
already being watched? Do you really think that the Party could be
fooled? We knew that he would try to escape. We just waited for the
right moment. Where do you think I was this afternoon? I arrested
14
The year was 1952, behind the Berlin Wall. Families were torn apart, neighbors were
suspicious of each other, and the Communist Party had control. In a small house in
East Berlin, a brother and sister deal with the ghosts of the past and the uncertainty
of the future.
(JULIA is seated, reading quietly. Andrew enters, removes his coat, and warms his
hands by a “fireplace.”)
JULIA. (after a moment) I have saved you some dinner; it’s on the stove.
It’s not much, just soup – again.
ANDREW. Soup is enough. We have more than many others. At least we have
a fire and a warm house.
JULIA. This house is drafty and old. Father was a good man but not very
talented as a carpenter. I wish he would have left us a better home.
ANDREW. Julia, be careful of how you talk about our father. He was a great
soldier and a good man. He understood what was right and
wrong—and what was important.
JULIA. He was a camp guard in the army of a madman. Don’t glorify the
past. Don’t try to whitewash what Hitler did or excuse Father’s part
in it. If he hadn’t died in prison they would have executed him as a
war criminal.
ANDREW. (serious and proud) You haven’t been home a week, and all you’ve
done is judge others, criticize our father and complain about
everything else. You spend your time in useless books, or in classes
listening to professors telling lies. The Party is trying to help every
one, but there must be some sacrifices on our part. We, you and I,
are only part of a larger ideal. Father understood that sometimes
people have to be dealt with in order to serve the higher good.
JULIA. You mean killed or imprisoned. Why don’t you just say it?
ANDREW. To protect the Party, to protect the proletariat, some people have to
be eliminated. The greater good.
JULIA. (calmly, without much emotion at first.) Last week—just before I left
the university—someone turned in one of my professors for
something he said in our class. Our professor had been talking
about how America had freedom of speech and that he had been
listening to an American radio broadcast. That same night, he was
taken from his home. One of the other students saw him dragged
from his house. He was bleeding and begging. The next day we had
a different instructor who told us that our professor had been sent
to a reeducation camp. Is that your greater good?
ANDREW. The man sounds like a traitor! The student who turned him in should
have gotten a medal.
A Brother’s Love
by Doug McConnaha
19
RYAN. Yeah, we both think you should leave!
MARSHA. Yeah, we agreed to it!
RYAN. Yeah!
MARSHA. Sure!
SERGE. Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize this was your fair. I was a little con-
fused because everybody seems to be at our cookie stand, and…
oh, where are all of the people at your stand? Where are they, I don’t
see them! Are they on vacation? Are they invisible? What is it,
Clairge?
CLAIRGE. I don’t know, Sérge.
SERGE. Nor do I, Clairge.
MARSHA. They were here! They just, uh…were too…
RYAN. Shocked by how good our cookies were!
MARSHA. Yeah! So they had to be taken to the hospital because—
SERGE. You poisoned them? Oh, Marsha. Marsha, Marsha… I knew your
cookies were bad, but I didn’t realize they were lethal!
CLAIRGE. I had a feeling.
SERGE. I mean, of course.
CLAIRGE. It’s like you get “sugar” confused with “anthrax.”
SERGE. And “eggs” with “linoleum.”
CLAIRGE. “Flour” with “The Black Plague.”
RYAN. Yeah, all right. We get it!
MARSHA. If you think your cookies are soooo much better than ours—
SERGE. We don’t think, we know!
CLAIRGE. It’s like, “What’s two plus two?”
SERGE. Four!
CLAIRGE. Whose cookies taste like my grandfather’s rotting ashes?
SERGE. Theirs!
CLAIRGE. See?
RYAN. Nuh-uh-uh. No-no-no-no-no, you’ve got to prove it!
CLAIRGE. Okay, well four is two more than two.
RYAN. I mean your cookies!
MARSHA. Yeah!
RYAN. Our cookies are the best cookies in town and we know it!
CLAIRGE + SERGE. Oh really?
RYAN + MARSHA. Yeah! I think!
SERGE. Are you challenging us…TO A COOKIE DUEL?
(CLAIRGE gasps dramatically.)
RYAN. Y—
(RYAN looks to MARSHA to confirm.)
MARSHA. (whispering) Yeah.
RYAN. Yes. We. Do!
MARSHA. Cookie duel!
(SERGE laughs. Laughs. Laughs again, until he can’t control it. CLAIRGE joins in and
they laugh it up. RYAN gets confused and joins in as well.)
MARSHA. Ryan!
18
...Cookie Duel
by Matt Mills
(We hear a peppy jingle blast into the surrounding fairgrounds. At a cookie stand
called “Goody Cookies,” two bubbly employees, RYAN and MARSHA, perform a
dancing and singing routine for passing customers.)
BOTH. ‘ Hello, fair goers! Come and eat your treat!
RYAN. We’ve got sugar cookies...
MARSHA. Chunky cookies…
RYAN. Liquid cookies…
MARSHA. …and even plastic cookies!
RYAN. So if you love cookies just as much as we do…
MARSHA. Come and try some today!
RYAN. We’ll be mad if you say “nay!”
(They both make angry horse sounds then pose with a smile. After a beat, they sag
in disappointment.)
MARSHA. Why does that never work? These cookies seem even less desir
able than me!
(MARSHA grabs a bowl and ingredients then begins mixing a new batch. RYAN
commences moving sheet pans and helping out with the process.)
RYAN. I know! It’s like—has anyone at this fair even had a cookie before?
It’s the best noun of all time, right?
MARSHA. No.
RYAN. What?
MARSHA. JK! Of course cookies are!
RYAN. Yeah!
MARSHA. Yay! We get to make cookies every day, how neat of a job is that?
RYAN. When I die, I want to be cremated in a cookie oven.
MARSHA. When I die, I want to be reincarnated as a cookie.
RYAN. When I die, it will probably be due to my overconsumption of
cookies.
MARSHA. Ryan. Can I ask you something?
RYAN. Sure thing! What is it, Marsha?
MARSHA. Do you ever wonder why nobody’s buying our cookies?
(A chic and pompous pair, SERGE and CLAIRE, appear in front of the booth.)
SERGE. It’s because they suck.
CLAIRGE. Like suction cups.
(SERGE makes a sucking sound.)
CLAIRGE. Yes, like that.
SERGE. Yes.
MARSHA. You two again?
RYAN. I thought I told you two to take your foul, new-age cookies and get
out of our fair!
MARSHA. I told you that, too!
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Season Twelve: Fall 2014
Copyright 2014
ISBN Number 978-1-61387-070-9
For more quality material, visit our website at
http://www.speechgeek.com!
Dramatic Interpretation (Female)
The Extra Woman
by Josh Fleming
Prose Interpretation (Female)
When I Made Him Cry
by Doug McConnaha
Dramatic Interpretation (Male)
Between Notes
by Matt Mills
Duo Interpretation (Male/Female)
A Brother’s Love
by Doug McConnaha
Humorous/Duo Interpretation
The Great American Cookie Duel
by Matt Mills
20
RYAN. Oops! Sorry, I just love laughing…
SERGE. Tomorrow.
CLAIRGE. Right here.
SERGE. Best cookie wins.
CLAIRGE. Winner takes all—the whole fair!
SERGE. Loser leaves the fair and never bothers us with their stupid plastic
cookies again!
CLAIRGE. Seriously, why do you guys do that?
SERGE. It’s like they’re losers or something… Oh, wait!
CLAIRGE. They are!
SERGE. They totally are!
MARSHA. Maybe for now, but as of tomorrow, we’ll be eating our cookies with
a grin…
RYAN. Right in your face!
SERGE. Just don’t poison yourself…
MARSHA. That was one time!
SERGE. Sure it was.
CLAIRGE. See you tomorrow, losers!
SERGE. Auf wiedersehen!
CLAIRGE. People who lose.
(SERGE and CLAIRGE walk away.)
RYAN. Oh my god, Marsha, what are we going to do? They have the most
popular cookie in the country! How can we compete with their
chocolate chip, macadamia nut, and porterhouse steak cookie?!
MARSHA. I don’t know. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that we love making
cookies.
RYAN. Right…
MARSHA. And we also love eating cookies…
RYAN. When they’re not poisoned…
MARSHA. So between the two of us, I bet we can make the best cookie
anyone has ever had!
RYAN. Yeah, I bet you’re right!
MARSHA. Right?
RYAN. Let’s show those creepazoids how cookie baking is done!
MARSHA. We’re not actually going to show them how it’s done, are we?
RYAN. No, that’s just a saying.
MARSHA. Oh, okay. Goody Cookies, it’s time to get to work!
(Transition to RYAN and MARSHA hustling like mad scientists, concocting a compli-
cated recipe.)
MARSHA. Walnuts…
RYAN. Marshmallows!
MARSHA. Chocolate chips!
RYAN. Banana cream!
MARSHA. Kidney beans!
RYAN. Shoelaces!