Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

In this manual I will first comment on the writing of history in general and then trace the very irregular and halting history of"Impersonation Speaking" as an art, particularly as it is conveyed through "First Person Monologs." Then l will lead the reader through the specific tasks of choosing and researching an appropriate character to portray, locating the speech in time and place, and identifying the audience in order to speak to its concerns. These chapters will be followed by a discussion of self­concept, and how it affects a character's public presentation. Then comes the task of looking at the world as the chosen character saw it at that moment in time. Next is the matter of identifying the chosen character's individual style of communicating, and the process of building the character, both verbally and nonverbally. Only after all these steps in the process are accomplished, do I suggest how to put it all together in the writing of the speech. This will be followed by a chapter on rehearsing and delivering tbe speech, including a short discussion on the use of manuscript, notes, and speaking "off the cuff." Finally, I will briefly address the following topics of public speaking in general, applying them to Impersonation Speaking in particular: "visual image," "audience analysis," "the speaking event itself and what happens if ... ?," "the why's and how's of frequent revising," completing the chapter with a few words about publicity and the possibilities for presentation, where and when audiences can best be found and might be the most receptive.

It is my hope that this manual meets the needs of those people already interested in this specific and narrowly-defined category of public speaking. I hope, too, that the curious might read this and develop such an interest. Because of this latter purpose, as an addenda, I have included a speech I wrote

for Carl Schurz some time ago, one that I have delivered a number of times as Carl Schurz. It is printed here as a sample only, not as the prototype for Impersonation Speaking, because each character is and must remain an unique individual and each portrayer brings to the character one's own particular perceptions and perspective.

It is my continuing hope that through Impersonation Speaking more and more people will come to appreciate history as "human storytelling," through which we become exposed to the uniqueness and diversity of these perceptions and perspectives that we all hold as human beings.

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