Drama, debate and forensics tourney returns to Homer

On Jan. 13 and 14, the Homer High School Drama, Debate and Forensics team will host an invitational tournament for Nikiski, Soldotna and Homer High Schools.

Thirty-five students will participate in the event. They originally hoped to host a few more participants but with COVID complications organization has been challenging, Marge Dunn, team coach, said.

“We’re hoping to pull it together as best as we can,” Dunn said.

Homer High School Senior Zach Marley, with the debate segment of the group, said the tournament has faced a number of setbacks.

“Homer is hosting its first tournament in years. We were scheduled to host one in 2020 but COVID shut that down. Since then we’ve had other complications with schedules and the bussing system and we haven’t been able to put anything together.

“This will be a smaller tournament than expected but at least we’re able to host it.”

In addition to the competition, students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops with community performers and high school teachers: body movement in performance and mime, improvisation with Homer’s “Fresh Produce,” introduction to policy debate and developing your humorous interpretation.

The drama portion of the group focuses on acting and different forms of it: pantomime, duets, solo, dramatic interpretation and humorous interpretation.

Forensics focuses on skills used in speech and debate.

Marley described it as “a competition event where you are given a prompt, you have a set amount of time to compose a speech and then you present it to audience and judges.”

The debate component prewrites and prepares arguments for their cases after given a prompt. The debate topic for this weekend is “Justice requires open borders for human migration.”

Dayus Geysbeek and Raiden Skorski-O’Donnell are still seeking out their pieces for the weekend event.

In drama, you have to memorize everything except for in “reader’s theater,” then you can use scripts, they explain.

Senior Thea Person said she’ll present an “original oration” that she’s been working on for several months, which is approximately six minutes.

“Original oration means it’s a piece that I write myself. This piece is about how suicide jokes are not harmless,” she said.

Person has been with the group since October of her freshman year.

“DDF has been a huge part of my high school experience. I’m actually not going to be able to travel to state this year but I’m happy to be able to pass the torch and get everyone else up there. I’ll stay in Homer for the Life Long Learner celebration instead,” she said.

Person said she got involved in DDF because the school doesn’t really have a drama program outside of choir and the annual musical.

”I was interested in theater and for anyone looking to explore that, this was the only real option.”

She said being part of the team has made her able to talk to people confidently.

“I get a lot of feedback from the community about being a good conversationalist and I attribute that all to DDF,” she said. “Because the club integrates freshman through seniors, it’s also a really good bonding community and I’m very proud of the freshman, and juniors in the group as well.”

The DDF club will attend a larger state tournament in Anchorage in February.

The weekend event is open to the public and begins Friday at 4 p.m. in the Homer High School Commons.

Emilie Springer can be reached at emilie.springer@homernews.com.