Duo Interpretation Transitions

No touching or eye-contact?  Check.  Characters with individual personalities and mannerisms?  Check.  Blocking for each scene?  Check...wait.  How does a Duo transition from scene to scene?  A common question asked by Duo Interpretations.  Due to Duo's nature of not being able to look at or touch your partner--and playing multiple characters--most Duos will find themselves transitioning in and out of scenes with fluidity.  And they must.  A Duo would become quite dull if all a pair did was interpret one scene for ten minutes (which, ironically, is the norm for Duet Acting because actors stick to one character and one scene).  The rule forbidding direct interaction means performers mostly look at the audience, and staring out into the 4th wall, with little movement, delivering lines for a ten-minuet-one-scene-Duo will not do.  Scene and character changes are necessary to keep momentum flowing.  Transitions should be seamless, creative, and work with the material.  Below are some common transition types.  Mold these archetypes to your Duo Interpretation and your transitions will really pop!

  • A noise. A clear way to transition is to create a noise between scenes.  Some people use the same noise for every transition for consistency (effective but might become bland).  Others only use a noise when appropriate for a transition (like if the next scene took place at a train station a valid transition noise could be that of a train).  Duo transition noises work best when they directly relate to the text, instead of using some random sound. 
  • Song. Some Duos sing to signal transition.  Again, any transitions done to song should work with the material being interpreted so it does not stand out as odd.
  • Straight pops. Your Duo can use straight pops to go into the next scene.  If you use this method be sure that your body undergoes a distinctive alteration.  Change the angle of your stance, as you would in a Dramatic Interpretation or Humorous Interpretation, to signal that you are in a new location or time.  Better yet, have a character change.  This will allow for maximum differentiation.
  • Turning around. Watch Duos and you will notice a popular transition--that of turning.  It's easy to do and a very blatant way to show that you have transitioned into a new scene.  It's nice too because you and your partner can stagger the reemergence of either of you into a scene (one person talks, the other stands with their back to the audience to give the impression of one person performing) simply by keeping your back turned.  Further, while one partner is narrating the other not in play can create sound effects with their back turned, or they can perform quick reenactments/reactions with a quick spin towards the audience then "hide" again with another twist.
  • Upstaging. Like turning around but instead of having two people standing side by side (or both clearly visible) one actor stands in front of the other.  This blocking of the other from sight allows for the "hidden" interpreter to make noises or provide creative blocking help (such as if a narrator was talking about a monster the "hidden" interpreter could help the narrator sprout arms without being fully seen) from behind.  This technique is useful in that both of you can interpret and then easily transition into a new scene just by fully "revealing" the actor behind the upstaging.
  • Speed changes. Transitions can also be done with varying speeds to help show passage of time.  Want to fast-forward?  Create a speedy shift.  If your Duo wants to elongate time try doing a transition in slow-motion. 

Whichever transitions your Duo decides to utilize be sure to practice, be creative, and vary them.  Though it might be easier to use the same style of transition for scene changes, rarely does a script warrant such abuse.  Refer to your script and experiment with ways to transition within your Duo that work with the material.