Skip to Main Content

Communication Studies

This is an example of an inside Header

Oral Interpretation

For the Actor/Performer in Each of Us

There are six oral interpretation categories:

  1. Prose Interpretation
  2. Poetry Interpretation
  3. Dramatic Interpretation
  4. Programmed Oral Interpretation
  5. Dramatic Duo Interpretation
  6. Readers Theater
What is Prose Interpretation?

Prose Interpretation: A fiction or non-fiction performance piece, which may be drawn from a short story, essay, or novel. The focus of this event is on the development of the narrative/story. Play cuttings and poetry are prohibited. Use of manuscript is required.

What is Poetry Interpretation?

Poetry Interpretation: A selection or selections of poetry, which may be drawn from more than one source. A primary focus of this event should be on the development of language. Play cuttings and prose works are prohibited. Use of manuscript is required.

What is Dramatic Interpretation?

Dramatic Interpretation: A performance piece that represents one or more characters from a stage play, movie, or radio show. The focus of this event is on the development of characterization. Use of manuscript is required.

What is Programmed Oral Interpretation?

Programmed Oral Interpretation: A program of thematically-linked selections, chosen from two or three different genres of competitive interpretation (prose/poetry/drama). A primary focus of this event should be on the development of the theme through the use of narrative/story, language, and/or characterization. A substantial portion of the total time must be devoted to each of the genres used in the program. "Different genre" means the material must appear in separate pieces of literature. (E.g., a poem included in a short story that appears only in that short story does not constitute a poetry genre.) Only one selection may be original. Use of manuscript is required.

What is Dramatic Duo Interpretation?

Dramatic Duo Interpretation: A cutting from a play or plays, humorous or serious, involving the portrayal of two or more characters presented by two individuals. The material may be drawn from stage, screen, or radio. This is not an acting event; thus, no costumes, props, lighting, etc., are to be used. Presentation is from the manuscript and the focus should be off-stage and not to each other.

What is Readers Theater?

Note that different tournaments may have different descriptions of Readers Theater. Here is the description from the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament:

Readers Theater is defined as interpretation of literature by a group of oral readers who act as a medium of expression for an audience. While Readers Theater is both oral and visual, the emphasis is on the oral interpretation of the printed work and its resultant effects on the minds, emotions and imagination of the listeners/viewers. The audience should have the feeling of a unified whole in which each performer at all times contributes to the total effect desired. Theaters must have a minimum of three performers and a maximum of 14. The time limitation is 25 minutes with 2 minutes allowed for set-up and take-down.

 Department Info

The Communication Studies department is currently closed while classes remain online

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Sarah Crachiolo-Garcia, Department Chair

Los Angeles City College | 855 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles California 90029


Phone: 323.953.4000


Emergency: 323.953.2911