View Full Version : Who cuts pieces?
On your team, who cuts each student's piece? Do you do all the work and cut your own pieces or does your coach do most of the work? I'm posting this based on what I'm seeing on other posts where students are saying that their coach is doing most of the work. Doesn't this just totally remove a significant part of the whole piece development process? Should we hand out more respect for a competitior who cuts their whole piece themselves than a competitior who was handed their cut by the coach and barely changes it?
01-05-2005, 01:59 PM
I think that the individual student should cut the piece. Only the student really knows what his/her limit is, how they can handle the tech, etc. However, if the student feels that the piece is too long or challenging for him/her to cut, seeking the advice of the coach would be wise.
On my team, it's a combo of both.
01-05-2005, 02:27 PM
I cut all my stuff, as well as stuff for lots of other students. Our coaches really don't cut things for anyone.
I don't consider myself excellent at cutting, but I have received instruction at camp and from coaches outside of my own. I agree, cutting your own piece gives you a connection that (in my opinion) is completely unique and unparalleled.
However, I kind of wish my coaches would help me more with cutting (especially the initial cutting). It's hard to put confidence behind something you cut yourself sometimes, especially when you first begin the season. I've learned to get over that, and the more I cut, the most confident I am. Still, I wish I had a combination of both.
01-05-2005, 09:24 PM
I think it sould be a combo of both. I think the coaches should cut for newcommers, freshman, maybe sophomores, and the individual should cut his/her own piece if it is an upperclassman on the team. Newbies don't really know what type of piece or cutting of the piece may be good for competition. But after they have been on the team for about a year or two, they should have the hang of it and be able to cut it themselves.
01-05-2005, 11:05 PM
I love cutting. Sometimes its really hard, if there's a lot of good parts and you have to take some of them out, (as I said to my duo partner today, while cutting his new prose "Hey, sometimes cutting hurts!") but I really think its a lot of fun.
And I know how wierd that sounds.
i think there's already a thread somewhere about cutting. i posted there and was then confused when i found this one.
anyhoo...i totally think the kid should do the cutting, but sometimes it's hard. you spend so much time reading the piece that you either can't see anything else that the piece can do without, or you're so in love with it that you can't cut any more. my coach has only cut one piece of mine that i can recall, and that was after i'd cut it a million times, given it to three or four other teammates to cut for me, cut again a few times, gave it to one of our mommas, and then cut it again. it still wasn't short enough, so i gave it to lasure, he completely killed Lewis, the only character left, and i liked him! but it got the piece where it needed to be. ironically, sort of, i changed pieces later. but you can't always cut the piece completely yourself. however, you should always make every effort to do so. for one thing, if it's a memorized thing, it helps get it in your head. for another, you control what happens in the piece. you know what you can and can't do, so you can manipulate your own piece while cutting. when you put your heart and soul into getting your piece just right, you do way better.
ok, i found the other thread on cutting (right in this forum!) and the question was a tad different, but here's what i said there about cutting:
as far as cutting, usually we try to cut our own pieces if we're experienced. the older kids will cut for the newbies until they can learn how to do it themselves. and then we help each other, too. i'm a senior, but i had at least four different people look at my solo at the beginning of this year b/c i needed more cut and i couldn't do it. our coach does help with cutting, but usually, we do it. and that's fine, he does so much else that we can't have evey person on the team running to lasure for cuttings.
01-07-2005, 07:39 AM
Learning to cut a piece properly is probably the most important and, I would say, most difficult part of finding sucess in forensics. I detest these companies that prepackage ten minute pieces for the same reason that I think students should always be cutting their own material: because it's the student who's performing it, not the coach. I am a strong advocate of having even novices do their own cuttings. It's up to the more experienced team members to offer guidance and example, of course, but no one is going to learn how to cut if someone is always doing it for them.
I think a lot of coaches feel that if they have a talented younger student, then this student should be competative right away and needs to be given "good cuttings," and while the student may find success, they arn't really learning anything about literature, interpretation, or themselves. I learned far more during my first two years of forensics, in which I cut my own pieces (rather poorly I might add) and broke a grand total of four times, than in the final two yeas of high school when I broke every tournament. Even though I wasn't "sucessful" for two years, that time was spent learning about interpretation by trial and error, and by watching and observing people who new how to interpret a piece. No on learns when the coach does all of this.
I really strongly believe that having the student cut the piece is the only way to go if forensics is going to be something more than just a competition.
very well put, and i do agree. however, i would like to point out that some students simply cannot cut. for some, cutting a piece is the equivalent of, for example, singing. sometimes a person just can't do it. i, for one, even as a senior who has been cutting pieces since forever, have immense difficulty cutting a decent piece from a very long script. the solo that i had trouble cutting wasn't the same b/c the script wasn't a full length play with a lot of characters to be gotten rid of. my problem with that was simply getting it down to time. but if you handed me a movie script and told me to cut a d.i. from it, i would probably stare at it for about a week and then give it back. so when someone has trouble cutting, i can't bring myself to simply make them do it. i tell them to try, and they usually do, and if they really can't, i try to help as much as i can.
i see nothing wrong with plays that are only written to be ten minutes long. for one thing, the person who wrote it may not necessarily have had speech specifically in mind. and even if they did, it can be helpful to the performer, b/c he or she might need more time to work on the actual performance itself. i am aware that there are a lot of "ifs" in what i just said, but it's true. i would almost say that working on the performance is more important than the cutting. almost. it's hard for me to decided which, in my mind, is number one there. but if you have a piece that's already the right length, and has the right flow of conversation and emotion and everything, you can dedicate more time to getting to know your characters and deciding how to perform them.
01-07-2005, 09:57 PM
I agree with ria.
Speech is an activity where people first and foremost are learning how to speak well, not how to cut a piece. Take the two teams I have been apart of for example, they do not compete in NFL's, CFL's just state competition. In these cases we have a season that consists of 8-10 meets including state. Coaches want to create the biggest team possible in doing that what kid that has no idea of what speech is wants to be told:
"go and find a piece of literature and cut it to 8 or 10 minutes."
Just not many of them are going to go do that. That's why many of the kids we get it speech start out using an informative English paper for their first speeches. I am completely for a student going out and getting their own piece, but if a coach has one that would be good for them to do and fits their ability, why not? I understand the fine line that we are discussing here, but speech is exactly about that... speaking. And in terms of judging who knows who cut the piece, you could have a piece that was cut by the coach winning state and a piece that a kid feels some sort of connection because they cut it finish 20th. It's all about performance and skill as a performer, without that it won't matter who cut the piece.
I completely disagree. If you aren't able to cut a piece yourself and you instead use a coach cut piece just because you aren't naturally skilled enough to cut it yourself, isn't that essentially unfair winning? The ability to cut a piece is as much a part of the piece-building process as blocking, teching, character development... if not more. Cutting a piece is the construction of your own story/piece of art.
01-08-2005, 03:59 PM
First off, let me say that I think this sort of intellectual deconstruction of speech is really interesting, really important, and above all really cool.
The fundamental divide that I'm seeing emerge is one that gets to the core of speech. Namely, we have two prevalent opinions about what speech should be about: speaking, or cutting. As one who entered speech with a lot of experience in the theatre, I never experienced the need to refine my mechanical speakign abilities that much. Thusly, for me the emphasis at first was on the ability to examine, analyze, and manipulate the literature, and not so much the actual speaking. As I grew as an interper and performer, my skills speaking needed to grow as well, but the method that always worked best for me was to reach a complex understanding of the literature, and base my performance off of this.
The problem with this strategy is that it requires the interper to be the one who cuts the literature. This is really the only way he(or she) can reach the level of intimacy with the piece that is essential to the development of the actual performance.
For those who cannot cut literature, I do believe that one can learn a lot by trial and error, but I may have misrepresented myself above. I do not mean to imply that a novice interper should be thrown to the wolves or stranded in the desert, but rather should be guided. I have no problem with a varsity interper sitting down with them and guiding them through the process of investigating the literature, as long as the work is the student's own, not the varsity member or coach. It's fine for a coach to pull a piece from a file, but the student must reach the same level of understanding with it that one reaches when one cuts in order for their performance to be complete. I find that this is actually harder to accomplish without first cutting the work.
Ultimatly, I fall on the side of those who believe that the interpretation is more important than the performance. This may be because of my experience with college forensics, where cutting is everything, b/c of my previous experience with theatre, or even b/c of my association with the CFL, which tends to be more concerned with literature, but I think it's true--especially the more experience one gains. Remember that we hold a binder not as an annoyance or tradition, but as a reminder of the supremacy of the literature over the performer. In order for an interpretation to be complete, the literature must be properly interpreted and understood- something that is very hard to accomplish without cutting it.
01-08-2005, 04:10 PM
I have no problem with a varsity interper sitting down with them and guiding them through the process of investigating the literature, as long as the work is the student's own, not the varsity member or coach. It's fine for a coach to pull a piece from a file, but the student must reach the same level of understanding with it that one reaches when one cuts in order for their performance to be complete. I find that this is actually harder to accomplish without first cutting the work.
I completely agree. That's pretty much how things are on my team: we have a varsity/novice system where we teach everything we know to the novices .... as far as piece selection goes, a varsity will normally give their novice a few different scripts to look at that we think will work, and then we'll help them cut the scripts for themselves. We all help each other with cuttings on my team, and yes, we have files with hundreds of pre-cut scripts (for emergencies or cases of extreme laziness) but I dont see a way that you CAN do well without having a COMPLETE understanding of your literature, and an originality which only YOU could have found in the literature and put in your performance, and I dont know how that would be possible if you didnt cut it yourself, even if a guildine (meaning an existing cutting or the supervision of a team member or coach) is used.
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