Speech and Debate

Play

Writers: Stephen Karam

Overview

Show Information

Category
Play
Number of Acts
1
First Produced
2007
Genres
Drama, Dark Comedy
Settings
Contemporary, Multiple Settings, Simple/No Set
Time & Place
2000s, salem, oregon
Cast Size
small
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, High School, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Small Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes late teen, adult, mature adult characters

Synopsis

When the Republican mayor of Salem, Oregon, is caught in a sex scandal involving underage boys and the Internet, a local high school student sits up and takes notice. Intelligent and aggressive Solomon, a nerdy, single-minded teen with ambitions of journalism, wants to investigate homophobic closeted men in positions of power in the state capitol… whether or not they are actually politicians. Howie, a gay high school senior who has transferred from Portland, is disgusted by the comparatively Puritan culture of Salem, in which he can’t get a Gay-Straight Alliance sponsored at school... but he can get picked up by a teacher in a chat room. And dramatic, determined Diwata, a frumpy young diva with adult burdens and a grudge against the Drama teacher who refuses to cast her, is the nervous witness to an illicit student/teacher encounter. When the three students realize that they each have a piece of the same scandalous puzzle, purposes are double and triple crossed, conversations explode, secrets are bartered, and ultimately, and in spite of themselves, an alliance is formed. Tony Award-winner Stephen Karam’s Speech and Debate is a snappy dark comedy, sarcastic yet sincere, a, genuinely hilarious and genuinely emotional story of misfit teens who explore sexuality, identity, and personal power, as they learn to deal with misunderstanding and dismissal from the adult world.

Lead Characters