Duo Interpretation

This event is similar to Dramatic Performance, but with two speakers. Students perform a selection with each portraying single or multiple characters without touching or making direct eye contact with each other. The material may be humorous or dramatic, or may combine both tones. The two competitors should effectively utilize pitch, volume, phrasing, vocal quality, tone, articulation, enunciation, and fluency to create the characterizations desired. The dialogue between characters should reflect a genuine sense of interaction, not a mechanical exchange of lines.

Performers shall not make deliberate physical contact with each other during the performance, except during the introduction. Physical movement is restricted to performers moving around one another, switching position, pivoting from side to side, or turning around completely. Except during the introduction and transitions, eye contact is aimed only in the audience’s direction. Eye contact with specific audience members during narration is permitted.

The presentation must be from a single published play, fictional, or nonfictional work. A series of poems is permitted. The poetry may be taken from a variety of published sources united by a single poet. The author’s words as published in the literature must not be altered for the presentation with the exception that cutting is permitted. No properties or costumes of any kind may be used. Using “properties” means manipulating articles of clothing or objects to enhance the performance. Judges will rank students based on which team best portrayed their individual characters and showed the physical and emotional interactions between their characters.

Time limit: Maximum of 10 minutes. While no minimum is prescribed, performances of less than 7-8 minutes often receive lower scores.

Summary of Judging Criteria

  • Introduction The introduction should name the work and author, provide necessary background information, and establish the mood.
  • Material The material being presented should allow for interesting character choices and reasonable plot structure. The material should be appropriate for the students.
  • Interaction and Environment The performers should convince you that they truly see the other character(s). Each character should listen and react with face and body especially as the other is talking. What one character says or does should provoke a fitting vocal, physical and emotional response from the other character. The characters should see and respond to what is around them. The interpreters will vocally and physically respond to each other’s verbal and non-verbal cues while maintaining an off-stage focus.
  • Characterization Each character should convey a distinct, consistent personality, stance, and manner of gesturing. Each character should be sufficiently developed and should interact meaningfully with the other characters.
  • Physicality The physical movement and portrayal should contribute to the overall aesthetics of the presentation. Pantomime, if used, should be accurate and realistic.
  • Vocal Quality The interpreters, within character, should appropriately vary pitch, volume, rate, emphasis, quality, phrasing, and intensity to convey the various moods and messages in the story.
  • Overall Effect The overall performance should build to various moments and have a climax. The performance should be complete and easy to follow. The performance should display another world outside of the performance space.