Sophomore and junior place first in state forensics duo finals


Credit: Yacine Lo

Milo Turner

Forensics is a multiple-event extracurricular that combines elements of drama, speech, musical arrangement and presentation. 

On April 30, high school forensics teams from across the state met at Troy High School in Troy, Michigan to compete in their respective events.

Student forensics competitions in Michigan are arranged by a non-profit organization known as the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association. 

Sophomore Braeden Davis and Junior Yacine Lo finished in first place in their event, duos, with their day consisting of three preliminary rounds, one semi-round, and a final round.

Lo explained, “The way that my event works, you have two people that take a movie or a play and they condense it down to a ten minute plot, and then from there you go through the plot and you play different characters. I played about three and Braeden played about three as well.”

The two performed a piece based on the 2021 movie “Don’t Look Up” about a pair of highly-accredited scientists who discover a comet set to collide with the Earth. 

“Forensics is super weird. There’s a lot of rules and a lot of ways to get creative because the whole idea of forensics is interpretation,” Lo explained. “As long as you keep the author’s intended purpose, you can interpret things in a different way. You take a movie and do a scene breakdown, and ask, ‘what’s the most important message you need to get across in this scene?,’ and from there, take the important dialogue that moves along the plot, and then include that in the scene breakdown. Finally, you include blocking, including different character voices and all that.”

Duos will often incorporate props into their pieces, which are simple set pieces that help move the story along visually. Davis and Lo used two stools during their performance. 

We had times where we were sitting down to differentiate, some characters were standing up and some characters were sitting down, and they would transition from standing up to sitting down to make that clear. Since a big part of ‘Don’t Look Up’ is the comet, there were times where we would use the stool to represent the comet,¨ Lo explained. 

Participants typically spend a few months up until their first competition preparing their piece and adapt them as they go based on the critiques they receive from judges. 

Davis said, “Common critiques we got throughout the year were that our piece was too fast at times, some of our characters needed more differentiation and our story was arranged in a confusing way. We were able to fix all of our problems by the end of the season, receiving no critiques about any of that in the state tournament.”

Forensics coach, Drama teacher Dan Lafferty, had no experience coaching the event prior to this school year. 

“First trimester I taught Forensics as a class, so that was actually my first introduction to it, and I had a lot of help from students in the class who had been on the team, so they helped fill me in on some things I didn’t know,” Lafferty said. 

Despite his lack of hands-on experience, Lafferty coached students like Davis and Lo to their state finals.

“It was pretty gratifying, but it wasn’t surprising. When I took on the role of coach I had already produced and directed the musical, and so I already knew that Loy Norrix had super- talented students, that wasn’t a surprise to me,” Lafferty explained. “It was nice to see a lot of students do very well in forensics, but I kind of expected it after what I had seen from working in my drama classes and in the musical.”

Other Loy Norrix students who succeeded in their events are Catie Frink and Ellen Terzino, who placed 3rd in duos, Liam Braun, who placed 4th in broadcasting. 

All competition results are available on Tabroom