Debate I Name_________________________________________
Cutting the script
(Adapted from “Dramatic Interpretation Everything You Ever Wanted to Know”)
Directions: Today we will have a class period to work on cutting your script. Please use this sheet as your guide so that
you do not miss any important steps. Before you begin typing your script, please include your name, Debate I, the name
of the assignment (HI/DI/DUO #2) and the date the assignment is due in the upper left-hand corner.
Before you commit to typing the script, make sure you can answer yes to all of the following:
Do you love the story?
Can you picture yourself playing the characters?
Do the characters have range? As you are playing multiple people it is advised to select a piece with well-
Is it dramatic or funny enough to share with the class?
Basic Components of the “cut” speech:
It must be 2-3 pages TYPED (specific format to follow)
Lovingly cut, never butcher. In order to make time you most likely will have to trim or omit parts of the material
you adore if they are not necessary for the story.
Remember basic plot design. The general outline of how a plot is typically organized is as follows: Exposition
(introduction of characters, setting, etc.) --> CONFLICT and Rising Action (the issue is discovered and problems
arise due to the conflict) --> Climax (the height of conflict and highest tension; everything is unleashed!) -->
Falling Action (things begin to settle down and a solution is sought) --> Dénouement (the resolution/conclusion;
things come to an end happily or not).
1) Begin with a teaser. Choose a moment in the text that reveals the who, what, where, and when. Your teaser
should not be longer than a paragraph.
2) You will then transition into the introduction. The introduction should clearly state the name of the work, the
author, and any necessary background information needed to understand the text. The speaker should also
provide a purpose for sharing this excerpt. Do not think of this as a preview (“Let’s see what happens when Alan
and Meg fall in love”). When you present your introduction bear in mind that your audience might not have read
this story before. See model below:
“Love never has been, nor will ever be, synonymous with perfection; therefore, how is one expected to
endure a long-term relationship? In her humorous, yet heartwarming play, Perfect, Bridget Grace Sheaff
introduces us to Alan and Meg, a young couple, who strive for perfection in their day-to-day relationship.
Perfection, however, is a slippery slope, and it is virtually impossible to maintain such high standards,
especially when expectations are unusually high while preparing an anniversary dinner.
3) When writing your script, clearly state where the scene is taking place. Identify the name of the character with
each new line of dialogue. Further, indicate gestures/movement in parenthesis/italics. See below for model.
SCENE: An apartment. Meg walks back and forth between the kitchen area and the dining room, setting the table and
preparing dinner. Alan walks in the door with flowers in his hand.
Alan: (Entering the apartment) Knock-knock. Hey! Smells good in here.
Meg: (Continuing to set the table and prepare the meal) Thank you! I have to take the lasagna out of the oven soon and
if I can find my pastry brush, there’ll be garlic bread to go along with that.
Alan: You are a true chef.
Meg: What can I say? I graduated from the Stouffer’s College of Frozen Food with a Master’s in French Bread Pizza.
Do not forget that you script must build to some climatic moment, and then gradually come to a complete, non-
How to improve your performance:
1. Know your piece cold. The more uncertain you are of what lines come next the more uncertain you will be with your
characters. You must know your piece forwards, backwards, sideways, and any other way you can imagine. Not having
to worry about what comes next will allow you to begin to fully act out the material and get "in the moment," thus
letting your body take over and pop without doubting yourself.
2. Know your characters inside and out. Knowing your DI/HI/DUO lines is not enough; you need to know the characters.
Specifically, have memorized every physical attribute you gave. Facials, posture, feet position, focal point (direction they
face), arm placement, and any distinguishing gestures/"props" they hold--ALL need to be recognizable instantly. The
transition must seem instantaneous and the only way to accomplish that is to be in character after your split-second of
popping is done.
3. Keep the energy up. HI/DI/DUO should be intense and have energy behind the performance. Take advantage of
silence and pauses.
4. PRACTICE! When practicing, be sure to go through your piece from beginning to end to ensure that there are no
unnatural pauses or stumbling over words.
Homework: For next class, come prepared with your typed,