‘This is Not a Club’ amazing young people prepare for national speech debate

National Speech and Debate, High School Duo Speech Teams, Film Festival, New Documentary, Vegas Competition


July 2, 2015


“This is Not a Club”, is the amazing new documentary that puts to bed the old high school concept of “speech club”. Here we are introduced to the “speech team”. In today’s high schools kids have the opportunity to create masterpieces in performance art as a Duo; two partners form a team in this speech competition. No matter the back ground or personal orientation, the child has only to find a suitable partner and raise to the challenge. Then, working vigorously and tirelessly for six month with their coaches preparing for the many stages of competitions. Local to State whose winners go on to the National Speech Duo Competition taking place annually, in Los Vegas.

These students have to be incredibly imaginative combining voice, acting, movement (contained within a diameter of a few short feet), and with another person. The duo must perform without eye contact, without touching one another while doing all of the above. They must alternate dialogue interchangeably as if one entity. This is an athletic as much as intellectual form of “speech-debate” also known as “forensics”. The students approach the work as a sport-performance art. They must search past and present literature to find a piece of writing relevant to the idea, they want to communicate. Students are encouraged by their coaches to use bold, humorous, dramatic and socially relevant pieces to entertain and enlighten their listeners.

These kids shock us by attacking subjects well beyond what we think they are aware of. Tradition coupled with today’s readily available information, young people are exposed to conditions and issues prior generations took years or lifetimes to experience. Still while many youngsters don’t reach past what is easily available today, these young adults immerse themselves in the human condition. Observing what was or is, then creating their point of view. They are learning, asking questions while proposing answers with ravenously engaged commitment. Watching how dedicated and creative the children are will make you gasp in awe while laughing out loud at their audacity and humor. excellent!

Many public figures are alumni of this competition such as, Zac Efron, Paul Rudd, Oprah, Brad Pitt, James Dean and Jane Pauley to name a few. Weather the overwhelming joy of success or sadness of defeat, the discovery of everlasting love or the feeling of tragic loss and heart break, these kids experience it all in the competitions grueling six months. The results are powerful public speakers who can communicate using their entire being. “This is Not a Club” is not only a triumph-it gives us a glimpse of our future society. With all the training, practice, tension and stress this competition puts upon these students, their innate resilience and desire to be their personal best, gives us hope. The comfort in knowing, if these kids are any indication of the majority of their generation, we can rest assured- the future is in very good hands.

Rated: PG
Producers: Sami Kriegstein & Erica Dasher Director: Ari Levinson
Writers: Erica Dasher , Sami Kriegstein

Stars: Chris Pine

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