I have a long, long history with speech and debate.
It started in 7th grade, when I decided to try prose with a groundbreaking piece. Dr. Seuss’s ABC book did not go over as well as I had hoped, however, and I began to realize that maybe I wasn’t going to be very good at prose performance. Thankfully my coach had me try impromptu. I placed in the very next meet and went on to compete — and win! — in limited prep until my sophomore year in college.
(That year my then-boyfriend/now-husband ((a lifelong debater)) and I decided to throw off the shackles of our serious categories and do something fun together. We competed in duo dramatics with pieces of Macbeth, did not do very well, and quit after that year.)
That said, I have always secretly — or maybe not so secretly — envied the prose and poetry folk, and it turns out that now I’m writing for them, too!
When Amanda and I first started putting together Wolves and Witches, we thought we’d release it as a book of fairy-tale based monologues for students competing in forensics or speech-and-debate, as pieces for the prose, poetry, oral interpretation, or dramatic interpretation categories. (Actually our whole family has a long history with speech and debate — Amanda was also in limited prep for many years, and our parents coached for awhile after we had graduated. We love you crazy forensics people!)
When we were finished with the book it turned out we didn’t just want to write monologues. It’s got all sorts of retellings, both poetry and prose, in first and third and sometimes second person. It’s all still able to be competed with (published traditionally in print so it’s able to be used for both NFL and NCFL, ISBN and other info available at the publisher’s website) and although we may be a bit biased, we think it’s easy to read and pretty fun to perform.
Here’s the table of contents for Wolves and Witches, marked up for performers and coaches looking for a great new fairy-tale piece. (Maybe someone saw Into the Woods recently, eh??) Reading times are approximate based on one minute per standard page. Some of the pieces are available online — those are linked so you can check them out without having to buy the book. (But I’ll tell you a secret: some of the best pieces are only found in the book! You can buy it from Amazon or click here for some other options.)
We’ve sorted the pieces below by type and length to make it easy to find what you need; the actual book order is a little different.
Retold fairy tales include: Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Diamonds and Toads, Twelve Dancing Princesses, the Little Mermaid, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and a couple of mashups.
- The Witch of the Wolfwoods – 1st person – witch – 1 minute
- Flytrap – 1st person – witch – 1 minute
- Her Dark Materials – 2nd person (advice) – 1 minute
- Untruths About the Desirability of Wolves – 1st person – Red Riding Hood – 2 minutes
- A Shining Spindle Can Still Be Poisoned – 1st person – Sleeping Beauty’s citizen – 2 minutes
- Diamond and Toad – 1st person (two voices) – cursed/blessed girls – 3 minutes
- Rules for Living Well – 2nd person (advice) – 3 minutes
- Bones in the Branches – 3rd person – 2 minutes
- Lure – 1st person – mermaid – 2 minutes
- The Instructions – 2nd person (advice) – 4 minutes
- The Long Con – 1st person – Rumpelstiltskin – 4 minutes
- The Peril of Stories – 1st person – witch – 4 minutes
- The Best Boy, the Brightest Boy – 1st person – pied piper – 4 minutes
- The Gold In the Straw – 2nd person – miller’s daughter – 6 minutes
- A Mouth to Speak the Coming Home – 3rd person – 6 minutes
- Questing for Princesses – 3rd person – 8 minutes
- A Letter Concerning Shoes – 1st person – 12 Dancing Princesses’ cobbler – 10 minutes
If you do end up performing any of these, we’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment and let us know; we’ll be cheering for you!