Yesterday afternoon, news broke that actor Michael Clarke Duncan had passed away due to complications from a heart attack that occurred earlier in the summer. Affectionately known as a 'gentle giant,' at over six feet tall and 315 lbs, Duncan appeared in films such as Armageddon and his voice to Kung Fu Panda. His presence was hard to miss.
His most recognized role, however, was his breakout performance alongside Tom Hanks in The Green Mile. An adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a death row prisoner with supernatural abilities, Duncan's portrayal of the sensitive Coffey earned him numerous awards and an Oscar nomination. Though the events of the film were set during the Great Depression, it struck a nerve with modern audiences. Viewers left not only talking about the performances, but the complicated message regarding the death penalty.
Duncan's legacy is an important one for forensics. It is proof that powerful performances find a place in our hearts and minds. It is a reminder that performances are an opportunity to entertain, educate, and spark discussion. Even if we disagree on how we would "rank" a round or even interpret a text, pieces with a message force us to go from passive viewers to active participants in the discussion. Trophies are nice. But changing someone's mind about how they see the world is so much more impressive.
So tell us: Have you witnessed a performance that changed your outlook on the world? (It can be an interp, speaking event, or even a debate round.) Have you ever discussed the message of a topic or piece when you went home? As a competitor, what subject matters are you interested in exploring?