Duo Interpretation vs Duet Acting
There exists a state where Duo allows for contact; a place where Duo partners can openly interact. Imagine! A Duo performance where you can freely touch and look at your partner--and Duo binders are unknown as well! The magical place where this topsy-turvy Wonderland abides is in Duet Acting. Where it seems most of the country follows National Forensics League protocol of absolutely no direct interaction, Duet Acting has created a unique brand of Duo that is more like a scene partner activity for a theatre class. Some Duet events even allow for the use of a table and two chairs.
But is Duets' approach to Duo that radical or, dare say, wrong? Could Duet create a niche for Duo that might become incorporated into the NFL culture? To the later, most likely not. Duet has been active quite some time, for instance it has been a staple of the Illinois High School Association since 1940, and Duo with direct interaction has yet to catch on. In fact, many Forensicators are shocked by Duet's allowance of touch and eye contact, therefore proving the limited use of Duet across the country. So fear not Speechies across the Nation; your style of Duo shall be preserved.
Yet, as to the former query of this brand of competition being awry...that really is a matter of opinion and perspective. To be fair, both types of performance offer their own challenges that make for wonderful competition. No contact of any sort can foster more creative blocking. And not being able to place anything other than your feet on the ground further limits Duo, or enhances its creativity production based on your viewpoint. Picture trying to slap someone without actually touching/looking at them. Not only does the blocking need to be flawless, so does the timing. You need to trust your partner to know where and when you are to create seamless motions together.
However, though being allowed the indulgence of direct interaction might elicit more obvious solutions to simple blocking, there are challenges that arise. As you can react and act-upon your partner openly, the need to find intriguing, crafty blocking that is active and wows an audience becomes a factor--particularly for Humorous Duet Acting where high energy is a must (yes, some Duet using leagues also divide Drama and Comedy into two separate Duo categories: Humorous Duet Acting and Dramatic Duet Acting). As you will be touching and gazing at your partner there also becomes a need to bond. Anyone can tell when two actors have little chemistry or lack the actors' ability to feed off one another. Sure, no contact Duo partners utilize their partner's energy, but not in such an intimate manner.
Whether you approve of contact in Duo or not, Duet Acting is not leaving soon. There is little consequence to this oddity as Duet's rules will never be applied to the NFL unless some miraculous alteration occurred. It is merely curious and somewhat delightful to know that variation is alive in Forensics.