Forensics and Debate Team to perform

April 29, 2014
Pioneer Forensics and Debate Team

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Pioneer Forensics and Debate Team and special guests will present “A Showcase Concert – The Revival of the Spoken Word” on Tuesday, May 6, in the Center for the Arts’ Blackbox Theatre at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to everyone. Donations are welcome and will be used to offset the team's expenses when traveling to forensics competitions.

The Pioneer Forensics and Debate Team is led and coached by Martin Chislom, speech lecturer, and Emily Yenter, a junior mechanical engineering major with a biology minor and president of the Pioneer Forensics and Debate Team, from Chetek, Wis.

Student members of the team will read and perform their works, which will include informative text, poetry, after dinner, prose, oral interpretation, impromptu and more.

The evening will also include a special Reader’s Theatre of a new play written by Chislom, “Mama Kennedy Teaches Her Son to Dance Too.” The two-character play, which explores the early onset of dementia, will feature Chislom and Kathy Lomax, director emerita, Sponsored Programs, former director of the Multicultural Center and the first recipient of the UW System Woman of Color Award in 1995. Lomax will play Mama Kennedy while Chislom will play Percy, Mama Kennedy’s son.

At the conclusion of the play, Chislom will ask audience members for feedback. He plans to perform the play in other venues in the future.

Special guests will be Marilyn Gottschalk, a former English professor at UW-Platteville, who will read her poem “Being 80,” and Nikki Wentworth Allbaugh, of Richland Center, Wis., who will give a dramatic presentation, “Life Perspectives,” written by her mother, Sandra Crary.

Student team members who will read their works include Yenter; James Thomas, a junior criminal justice major and vice president of the team from Chicago, Ill.; Bryce Ozak, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Abrams, Wis.; Dakota Vaassen, a junior English with an emphasis in literature and theatre double major from Galena, Ill; Elliott Frieden, a junior professional writing major from Moline, Ill.; Mason Hawes, a freshman communications major from Burlington, Wis.; Paul Krombos, a freshman agriculture major from Markesan, Wis.; John Skinkis, a senior industrial engineering major from Black Creek, Wis.; Emily Loux, a freshman biology major and treasurer of the team from Rochester, Minn.; Ben Lewis, a sophomore professional writing major from Lake Geneva, Wis.; and Tina Hurlburt, a freshman engineering physics major from Scales Mound, Ill.

Alyssa Santucci, a junior biology major and secretary of the Pioneer Forensics and Debate Team from Carol Stream, Ill., is handling the team’s public relations and will MC the event.

“The goal of forensics is to help prepare students for their future careers by providing them with the opportunity to apply competitive public speaking skills in intercollegiate competitions and to teach them the value of teamwork, research, literary imagination and networking,” said Chislom.

Yenter agreed. “Forensics is not just an activity we do. It involves preparation, teamwork, time management, communication and much more. I believe that public speaking is an essential part in the workplace and forensics allows its participants to excel at it.”

Chislom is the co-founder and artistic director of MC Players Theatre Inc., Kansas City’s African American Theatre Company. He holds a master’s degree in theatre and film from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. He is a recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Study Abroad Fellowship and spent six weeks studying performing arts and culture in Senegal, West Africa. He also spent the 2000 theatre season as the interim artistic director of Chicago’s North Theatre Company. He has written and directed many plays and has written several documentaries, one of which is about Mary Eastwood of Wyoti, Wis., one of the founding members of the National Organization of Women.

Contact: Martin Chislom, Department of Performing and Visual Arts, (608) 342-1047,

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191,


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