One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast

Long Winter's Clap 5: Duo Interpretation (Feat. DUO Tips from Coach Londe Gagnon)

January 10, 2021 Lyle Wiley / Londe Gagnon Season 2 Episode 38
One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast
Long Winter's Clap 5: Duo Interpretation (Feat. DUO Tips from Coach Londe Gagnon)
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to A Long Winter's Clap: 12 Days of Speech and Debate Event Overviews and Resources.  Today we are talking about Duo Interpretation - featuring tips from Jackson Hole Head Speech and Debate Coach and Wyoming High School Forensics Association President, Londe Gagnon.  Be sure to check out all of Londe's smart tips and other Duo resources on our website.

If you have any ideas or requests for topics to explore on the One Clap Podcast, shoot Lyle an email at [email protected] or check out our blog and social media here:
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Happy Holidays, friends!  I mean… sure we are getting further from the actual holiday season… but that’s okay!  It is still winter... Here in Wyoming, we have like another six months of winter probably.

Lyle here - your snow shoveling, ice scraping, and space heater enthusiast host of the One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast.  I come once again with some Speech and Debate goodies.

Welcome to A Long Winter’s Clap - 12 Days Speech and Debate Event Overviews.

For these episodes, One Clap will be delivering event overviews and resources that I hope will be helpful for novice judges, coaches, or competitors.  

What’s the deal for these winter shows?  Well, for each ep I will provide a quick overview of the chosen event, a couple of spicy and sweet tips for each event from expert coaches or competitors, and links to helpful resources to help you rock your performance on our website.  These overviews are not meant to be comprehensive, but should hopefully give you some information on each event and then provide resources for an independent deep dive for listeners.

Settle in for a helpful event-overview gift for your speech-loving ears from One Clap Speech and Debate!

Duo Interpretation

Aka Duet
Aka Duo
…is an event for two competitors who partner-up to perform a 10-minute cutting of a play or story.  As with all interpretative events, no props or costumes are used - just two performers using creativity and various techniques to build characters, story, and interaction with their partner.  

Here is a description straight from the NSDA:

“Duo. The event everyone wants to do with a best friend. In truth, while the appeal of duo might be performing with a friend, this approach may not be best. Duo is about balance. Partners need to compliment one another stylistically, have a similar skill set and work ethic. Chemistry is an important element of duo, but chemistry outside of a practice/performance setting does not always translate to chemistry when practicing or performing at a tournament. Be sure to share your goals with your coach as they help you through the process of getting started in duo.

Duo is an event that can be dramatic, comedic, or a combination of the two. With a ten minute time cap, and a requirement of an off-stage focus, Duo is one of the most unique forms of performance. The main objective is to maintain a sense of balance between performers that focuses on the relationship(s) between the characters they create.”

Duo is a dynamic interpretative event with two students.  It can be any genre or tone… humorous, dramatic, a mix…  you might see anything in Duo.  It is a wildly creative canvas for students.

Duo is a super popular event for spectators, and Duo rounds are places where one could potentially see many different and novel creative performances because of the endless ways two people can interact and build character in chorus.  Even now, in our world of primarily recording duo for asynchronous judging on a screen, there is space for jaw-dropping creativity.  

Here are some quick helpful tips from Jackson Hole Head Speech and Debate Coach and Wyoming High School Forensics Association President, Londe Gagnon.

5 Tips for Delivering a Dynamic Duo 

Choose Wisely when Picking your Partner.
This step is not as easy as it sounds. Friends do not always make the best duo partners - when choosing a partner instead consider if they have the same level of commitment to practices and competitions that you do. For example, if you have a best friend that participates on the team but only goes to 50% of the competitions and you go to 90% of the competitions, you may not be the best match for each other. 
Choose wisely when Picking your Piece
Duo is awesome because you can have serious content, funny content or a mixture of both. But in all cases, picking something with a message is important. Consider what your goal is with the piece - what do you want your audience to get out of it, what’s the point? Also, less is more- if you are trying to adapt an entire 2 hour script into 10 minutes you will probably struggle. Consider just crafting a substory of the main plot of the bigger script. 
Characters and Collaboration
It is important to work on collaborating with your partner but be careful about trying to direct one another. Instead approach it by creating your individual characters and then discuss how your characters would interact with each other. The more developed your characters are, the more depth you can create and the more tools you will have when it comes to blocking your piece. 
Be prepared that duo practices should be lengthy- especially at first when you are learning your chemistry, blocking and lines. Work on perfecting small portions at a time, doing full run throughs are not usually the best idea when working on blocking and memorization. 
It is important to get in sync with your partner before your practice or your competition round. Do a connection warmup before you start- the mirror game is a great one to tune in to each other. 
2020-2021 Separate but Together - Connection with your partner becomes even more critical when you must perform in separate spaces on split screens. Come up with a few rituals you can perform with your partner online to get you both in the same headspace. Warming up together is important (like stretching) so you can summon the partner chemistry that is essential to a dynamic duo. 

If you’d like to hear more from Londe on One Clap - good news!  Londe has been a key player in the One Clap Universe from day one.  I will link to her episodes on the blog post.  If you’d like to hear more about Duo on One Clap, I will also link to Cheyenne East Coach and all around good guy Allen Pino’s interview about Duo.  Additionally, I will link to any helpful resources I can track down for Duo on   If you have or know of more resources for students, coaches, or judges - reach out and let me know.  I’ll link to these resources on the website as well! 

If you have an idea or a request for One Clap Speech and Debate, shoot me an email at [email protected] or reach out on the One Clap Speech and Debate Podcast website or social media - linked in the show notes.

This New Year, maybe consider supporting One Clap Speech and Debate by checking out our patreon page linked in the show notes.  You can partner with me on this journey for as little as 1 dollar a month and stop patronage at any time!

Be sure to subscribe, rate, and review the One Clap Podcast wherever you listen!  Watch for new episodes of One Clap, Rock On! Debate, Coach Connection, and Speech Love!

Thank you for listening, best of luck to everyone out there competing at tournaments, and Happy New Year from One Clap!