Duo Chemistry



3. the interaction of one personality with another: The chemistry between him and his boss was all wrong.
4. sympathetic understanding; rapport: the astonishing chemistry between the actors.

An illusive word, yet there is its definition written out with a matter-of-fact ease.  "Interaction" and "sympathetic understanding?"  That's all chemistry needs to exist?  HA!  If only.  Well, technically chemistry can be used to describe any interaction (see above).  However, what a Duo seeks is good chemistry.  That is where the illusive nature of the word begins and a straightforward definition ends.  Easy to define but difficult to capture, good chemistry in a Duo is a quality many seek but few obtain.  True chemistry requires time and a genuine interest to understand your partner.  However, there are a few procedures your Duo can undergo to help develop chemistry while appearing to actually have some.

  1. Complement the other. As you search for a partner, try to find one that will turn you two into a real pair.  Duos are generally written with opposing forces (specifically Duos meant for only two characters--no pops).  As such, characters typically complement the other.  It's the classic Odd Couple.  One is extroverted, the other introverted.  One is eccentric, the other is grounded.  Get the idea?  If you are an energetic personality, then matching yourself with other high-energy persona might not be smart.  If you excel in the art of voices, branch out and find a partner that is great at facials/body language to act out your vocals.  You can do prat falls, they have the ability to be graceful and still.  You're good at analysis, your partner is better at finding a way to physically interpret.  Between the two of you the Duo should have such a wide array of skills that creativity and ability is endless.  The better you two complement the easier it will be for people to see how you support one another and work as one.     
  2. Listen. Never wait around anticipating when you can speak your line, spurt it out, and then zone out awaiting your next utterance.  This cycle is detrimental to bonding and performance.  Actually listen to your partner.  Interpret what, and how, they are talking.  Not only will this cause a Duo of more natural reactions and interaction, this will also form a visual connection between you and your partner.  Read this for more perks of listening.
  3. Trust. Letting yourself take risks while performing is only capable once you trust your partner.  If you feel insecure about emotionally letting go and fully experiencing the moment people can tell.  Holding back can be felt and usually leaves an audience wishing for more.  Further, emotionally hiding reflects on a Duo partnership.  If one of you is restrained, which tends to turn into both of you being protective, then it usually means that there is a barrier between you two.  Trust is hard to earn.  It takes time and interaction.  And sometimes a Duo does not have the luxury of being friends beforehand; not that trust can only form with friends--a good working relationship meets requirements.  No, a crash course in trust building might need to occur.  Both of you need to understand that open communication builds trust.  Being able to freely speak, respectfully and constructively, is a must.  Begin to openly discuss and trust will come.  Once trust happens, then feeling safe will come, and then being able to take acting risks and opening up will follow.  Get there and chemistry you shall have.
  4. Enthusiasm. Nothing quite shows chemistry like enthusiasm.  When an audience can tell a Duo enjoys performing it's captivating.  An electric current can be felt and it's truly engaging.  A Duo that is honestly excited to perform their piece together has a palpable connection.  That Duo tends to interact with the other better because the sheer joy of performing has overcome them.  They want to put on their best performance not only because the audience deserves it but because they legitimately love sharing their Duo's story.  A Duo pair might not even be the closest of friends, but the power of storytelling unites them for ten minutes.  Throw yourselves into the piece and watch magic unfold.  

Chemistry does not have to be this mythical entity.  It can be had if your partnership allows for a strong working relationship to grow.  Some of the greatest Duos in history were forged between opposing forces who had a potent working bond: Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor come to mind.  Being professional and putting the Duo first is step one in overcoming differences and merging into a pair.  No one says you and your Duo partner must be buddies outside of practice, but once rehearsal begins working together is vital.  Use the advice above and not only will you be able to work well with your partner, chemistry should be a side-effect.