In Duo you can be as solid as a diamond on your lines, know all your blocking, and have impeccable interpretation, but if you forget this one part of performance your Duo will be jeopardized. Too often Duo partners jabber their lines off without any regard to the other. The lines might appear to have conviction, but without actually having heard your partner the scene is fake. If you can look at your partner or not, being able to listen is a weapon your Duo can deploy to add an edge of perfection. How so? Well, listening allows for these things to happen:
- Better timing. Instead of waiting for your partner to finish speaking so you can say your line, listening will allow for you to improve timing and create a more natural conversation speed. The script calls for you to interrupt your partner? If you listen to them you can better place when you cut of their speech to avoid those awkward mini-pauses that happen on poorly executed interruptions. Further, by listening you can better assess how long to wait before speaking your line based off of your partner's previous dialogue.
- Awareness. You might know your lines, but there is always the possibility of a performance hiccup. The less you pay attention the more likely you are to lose your place in the script. Or, if your partner jumped a line you might not catch the blunder and miss an opportunity for correction. Listen to your Duo partner and decrease the odds of such awkward situations.
- Natural reactions. When you listen to a person you fully take in their words, message, and emotions. In Duo, listening to your partner will allow for you to fully engage with them as an actor. Process and interpret their character's emotions and words as they speak and there will be an increased chance of you responding more naturally because you are connecting with their emotions. You become involved with the piece and become engrossed in the scene.
- Connectivity and draw. Listening connects two people. As stated earlier, listening in Duo will lead to more natural, organic reactions to what is said. As you become engaged, you and your partner will connect in the scene. When that happens, it can be described as chemistry. Audiences will see the level of interest and comfort you two have in the others performance and be drawn to the reality of the scene. The Duo will seem less as a Forensics competition piece and more of a realistic interpretation of life.
Duo is not about waiting for you partner to finish speaking so you can get your lines out. Duo is a give and take between two individuals and the journey the characters take in discovery. It is a joint venture and not a demonstration of one actor vs another. Only through working together can a Duo succeed.
Though your eyes might not meet, your ears are always open.