Duo Interpretation

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Duo Interpretation, or often simply called Duo Interp, or just Duo, is an official speech event of the National Forensic League, the National Catholic Forensics League, National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, American Forensics Association, and the National Forensics Association. The event involves a pair of performers acting out a short literary piece or program under certain restraints, including not making eye contact with and touching your partner, and no props. Pieces used often include published short stories, plays, or poems. Participants may cut anything out of their piece, but cannot add any dialogue. This event can either be dramatic or humorous.


Interpretation is highly valued in this event. Performances may be dramatic, humorous, or a blend of both. Performers often twist the meanings of words for comic effect, or play on an unintentional pun. Other common ways to change the meaning of the text is to sing, dance, gesture, or simply change the tone of your voice. Performers are often judged on their characterization and the "stance" associated with it. Since each performer is usually responsible for more than one character and as there are no costumes, they must signal a change clearly and performers will often use this to their advantage with humorous voices and elaborate body positions, some involving both partners' participation, the jargon for this being "inter-blocking." Hand-gestures and pantomiming are also utilized. To overcome the restriction of looking at one's partner, participants often pick a point on the wall in front them to look at, pretending it is their partner's face. Performers must convince the audience with believable facial expression that the person they are talking to is truly up against the wall.

Participants also overcome the rule against touching by creating timed movements, such as when one actor pushes straight out in front of themselves, while their partner pretends to be hit at the same time.

Some movements, such as lying on the floor or kneeling with both legs, are prohibited at some tournaments but performers can get around these rules by keeping one limb raised.

There is no definite time minimum but official rules say that a duo piece should be ten minutes long. Any team going over this time shall be granted a thirty second grace period.

2013 NFL Duo Interpretation Finalists - Birmingham, AL Performed By:
1) A Couple of Blaguards ~ Frank & Malachy McCourt *BAMA BOWL* Michael Dobuski & Sean Jordan, Holy Ghost Prep - PA
2) A Step from Heaven ~ An Na Lily Zhang & Katherine Zhou, North Allegheny Senior High School - PA
3) Tribes ~ Nina Raine Emma Erler & Jordan Riebe, Roseville Area High School - MN
4) Fences ~ August Wilson Imani Hassien & Michael Board II, Denver School of the Arts - CO
5) The Medicine Show ~ The LeBlanc Corporation Cameron Sabeti & Kevin Herring, Trinity Preparatory School - FL
6) Love of a Pig ~ Leslie Caveny Gregory Archer & Allison Scott, Summit High School - NJ

Elements of the Duo[edit]

The duo usually begins with a teaser or short "taste" of the forthcoming duo. Typically, though there is no rule governing the order of these elements or their length, this lasts 1 to 2 minutes before the performers break character to perform their self-written "intro". The intro serves to introduce the piece and its author, as well as provide the performers to simultaneously present the theme or storyline of their piece and infuse their own creativity. After the intro, which is usually brief due to original word restrictions, the duo resumes through its end.

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