These girls are anything but shy.

Some may call them bold, others may say they’re brave. They know they’re controversial.

Cara Gaumont and Samantha Fletcher share a passion for controversy, which they have expressed throughout the year as members of the Lewiston High School speech team.

The girls are not afraid to share their thoughts or speak their minds if it will get people thinking about the issues, said coach John Blanchette.

And that’s just what they did when they qualified for the quarterfinals in the National Catholic Forensic League’s Grand National Tournament in Arlington, Va., with a one-act play by Cathy Celesia.

The piece, “Anything for You,” follows a lunch conversation between two married women, Lynette and Gail, who are best friends. While browsing the cafe’s menu, Lynette expresses her desire to have an affair with Gail. The conversation that ensues addresses topics such as marriage, infidelity, sexuality and the meaning of friendship.

“A lot of the stuff we take up in speech is not your typical Dr. Seuss or Maya Angelou,” Blanchette said. “I think the controversial nature surrounding the piece is what attracted the girls to it. They wanted to bring up a diversity topic.”

Gaumont, who found the piece earlier in the year, approached Fletcher about joining the speech team to perform it with her in the Dramatic Duo category. Although the girls had met previously through the mock trial team, they found that the material brought them together.

“We both fit our roles really well,” Gaumont said. “We clicked pretty well because we have many of the same interests.”

“And we have crazy-duo energy,” said Fletcher.

“Duo is a lot like marriage – some days you carry them, some days they carry you,” Blanchette said. Finding the right people to fit the piece is one of the most difficult aspects of the speech team, he said.

Competitors in the Dramatic Duo category are not allowed to look at each other during the performance. Standing side by side, every action must have the proper reaction.

“It’s not only reciting lines. Dramatic Duo is one of the categories that is heavier on action and interpretation,” Fletcher said.

Written comments from the judges ran the gamut. While one wrote that he was offended and disturbed by the “lesbian issues,” another felt that the duo should be commended for such a brave choice and giving a voice to an important issue.

“I wish the ballots had more honestly reflected what they did, rather than what they chose,” Blanchette said. “But they took something that was controversial and upheld the aspects with a good performance.”

It was a banner year for the Lewiston High School speech team. Gaumont and Fletcher were among the seven students who qualified for the national competition. Besides being ranked 20th among the 212 teams competing from across the nation, the girls were also the first duo from the state of Maine to qualify for the quarter-finals.



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