Any celebrated partnership begins with an equally grand introduction. Look to film; any great buddy film has an awesome, often hilarious, first encounter of the new partnership that will cement the pair together. A Duo might not be arranged quite as such, but the introduction to your piece is the first time your audience is introduced to the real people behind the characters--an audience can glimpse how you and your partner truly interact. While adding realism and chemistry, introductions can also either add momentum to a Duo or stifle the mood. It is important to never "phone in" an introduction regardless, but in Duo it becomes even more critical. When putting together your Duo introduction there are a few things to do and to avoid.
- DON'T improv it or write it on the bus. People generally can tell when an introduction was written in five minutes. On the bus ride over. Either the writing is uninspired, dull, and boring or memorization (rather, lack of) is sketchy. Few have the ingenuity to develop an introduction on the spot (congratulations if you can). Even if you can throw words together right then chances are not in your favor of being more polished than the Duo that has rehearsed their introduction. Further, as both parties must speak in the introduction improv becomes far too intricate. How awful would it feel to deliver a marvelous hook only to speak a muddled introduction? The rest of your Duo could suffer from demoralization. Plus the judge might look poorly on your piece for not bothering to write a thirty-second introduction.
- DON'T be overly gimmicky. Yeah, it's cute and funny when two Duo partners ham it up in the introduction. Please, just do not go overboard. Pretending to be two goofballs takes away from the introduction being not only a word about your piece but also a look at who you two are. Besides, it is annoying to watch two people act fake because they think it's a riot when no one else does. Further, acting fake leaves one to think that you and your partner are not confident in yourselves so must further hide behind an image. Audiences want to see comfortable performers not timid Duo partners.
- DO be yourselves. As stated earlier, the introduction is the time to show the audience who you are and how comfortable you are to perform. People are drawn to those that show strength and honesty in public situations, so a solid introduction is one way to connect to your audience and win their affection.
- DO have a sensational hook. Most performers opt to perform a segment of their piece prior to doing the introduction. This acts as a teaser trailer of sorts to "hook" your audience. Whether your Duo be Dramatic or Comedic, you want to leave your audience on a note of anticipation. Such as when something heavy has been revealed. Leave them wanting, and give them more in the introduction.
- DO remember basic introduction structure. Not every introduction need follow this format, but on the whole most introductions begin with an attention getter (like a rhetorical question), then gives some background information that helps set the mood, then there is the delivery of the title and author's name, and then perhaps a linking sentence to ease back into the performance. In a Duo both partners must speak, you are not Penn nor Teller, so divvy the lines in rehearsal and practice a seamless, maybe banter-filled, introduction. Work with your partner, and deliver as one team.
- DO use your partner. It is acceptable to stand side by side and trade off lines of the introduction. Except, why do that when you have a Duo partner? Use your partner a little. It is okay to interact and grow off the other's energy.
- ALWAYS PRACTICE! Introductions need to be as polished as the actual performance. Remember, though clean an introduction should be, it must sound natural because it is you talking.
A Duo introduction is like any other...aside from there being another entity to help deliver. However, the premise is the same. Yet, do not let that keep you from practicing your Duo introduction regularly. If anything, because there are two involved, working a Duo introduction more is necessary to keep it clean. Teamwork takes patience and practice--even a thirty-second introduction.