Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.
Prompt 3) Speech! Tell about a time you had to speak or present in front of a group of people.
For being a college graduate who majored in Communications, I have never had to give a speech or a presentation in front of anyone since! After I graduated I went into professional radio for seven years to be followed by eight years of the Headhunting business before I became permanently disabled. I have had to train small groups and make one on one presentations but nothing that could be thought of as a speech to a large crowd.
I think it was freshman year in college when I had to take a course entitled “Oral Communications”, which when I think about it now, sounds a little dirty to me.
That course was full of having to give speeches of at least five minutes long. Like most people my age I would struggle with it, especially having to do a speech a WHOLE five minutes long. Was I at five minutes yet? I had been acting since I was 11 years old but the idea of actually doing a speech was pretty terrifying.
I managed to do okay in the course and when it came time for our final project, the professor explained that we could do a minimum ten minute speech on something of our choosing, or an Oral Interpretation. An Oral Interp was where you read from a book for ten minutes, with feeling.
As an actress, this was the easiest thing in the world to me! I knew right away what I wanted to do and the professor gave me her blessing. My brother had given me a script in book form of one of my all time favorite movies, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, which had won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Besides being a comedy, the movie exposed a naive 16 year old me to the concept of infidelity. I so wanted to be either Mia Farrow or Barbara Hershey! I even had the soundtrack; Woody Allen was famous for his musical selections which mostly were made up of jazz and classical music, also an education for me.
I chose the scene in which Barbara Hershey (Lee) reveals to her much older lover that she has been having an affair with her sister Hannah’s husband and that she is in love with him. That movie had so many favorite scenes for me but this scene read really well as it only had two people in it.
I played Lee and her lover, taking turns arguing. I loved the movie so much, the raw emotion of the scene came easily for me.
I don’t want to brag but I was a good enough actress to hold my class spellbound.
Only one other person in the class chose to do an Oral Interpretation. The rest of the class had looked at the project as more torturous than giving a speech. I remember he chose to read something from The Catcher and the Rye.
I don’t know what he got but I know that I got an A.
That was pretty much the last speech I ever gave in my life, with the best results ever.
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