Becoming a Better Extemper: Considering Interp (pt.4)

In the final part to a series on using Interp to build Extemp, Akshita Krishnan discusses body language.

If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you, but we’ve finally reached the end of the series on using interp to build extemp. Now that we’ve gotten humor and emotions out of the way, I finally present to you the third, and what I think is the most important, thing that interp helps many extempers understand: elevating their performance into something that is truly visual.  

In extemp, the main forms of movement are the extemp walk and hand gestures, while interp’s catalog is often more expansive. Because of the creative nature of interp, competitors are encouraged to take the judge on a journey with their movement, utilizing every possible sense to draw the listener into the story

For example, in Ella Schanke’s POI,  “Debate Like a Girl,” the binder is used as a prop to make drum beats that are referenced in one of the pieces the program uses, elevating the aural aspect of the performance and making it more interesting to watch. If you choose pieces in Interp that have this sort of creative backbone, chances are, the visual aspect of your performance will likely be tedious, incorporating movement that you won’t ever have the chance to do in extemp. 

So no, you can’t bring your legal pad to round and use it in an interpretive dance about inflation… but the physical aspect of interp is still applicable to us. Just as interpers are meticulously intentional about each of their gestures, we can be too. Intentional gestures, thought-out glances, and purposeful steps in between points can only elevate your speeches. Understanding the role that your body language plays during your speech will most likely also reduce any nervous habits that manifest physically, including shifting side to side. This allows you to ensure that you add an interesting flow to your speech without being disruptive—gestures and movement in extemp should help fortify your speech. In having complex movements that need to be memorized, the simpler movements of extemp often become second nature, which means that your ability to create that visual performance will be ingrained. 

So there you have it! The benefits of interp to all of us extempers. By building these three elements of delivery in your speech through interp, you will automatically find that the quality of some part of your speech, be it the jokes or the hand gestures, will improve, and you’ll be able to build up a better foundation to become a better extemper. 

So, if you have any free time over the break, look at a few DI’s, maybe cut a POI, and as always, keep extemping!

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