It’s one of those things that, once you see it, you go: of course!
Let the young actor, full of hope and aspiration, welcome the audience and thank the funder.
I know it’s a Humana tradition to have the acting interns do the pre-show speech. There shouldn’t be anything revelatory, at least to theater folks, that having someone connect with the audience and memorize their lines might make a worn ritual seem a little bit more authentic.
What’s shocking is how awful and uninspired the [fill in the blank – artistic director, literary manager, or poor shnook who couldn’t get out of it]’s speeches seem by comparision.