GUEST POST: Foils in Duo

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Corey Alderdice


    Duo can be one of the most rewarding events in interp; playing opposite someone else can teach you a lot about yourself.  In order to further develop the plot a characterization of a duo, it is essential that you develop the foil in it.

     It would obviously help the foil if you start by casting your duo partner as someone who is physically polar opposite from you, but this is not always possible.  The best comedic example of foil at work is Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, this play embodies the principle that foil helps drive a plot and moves an audience to feel something.  Other than casting choices, there are a few quick tips to developing foil through characterization.

  1. Find the conflict of the piece- What is at the heart of the story? Figure out what your characters want and what is preventing them from getting it.  If it is their own personalities, or the opposite character, you may find a motivation for your character that you did not even know was there. In my piece Thanksgiving Hunger Strike, two juvenile patients in an insane asylum find conflict not only with each other, but with themselves for how they became institutionalized.
  1. Develop your character’s movement- Add some unique physicality to your character that makes sense with the script. Your choices should not only be different from your own, but polar opposite your duo partner.  These choices, while seemingly insignificant, add to the conflict of the piece and make it more interesting to watch.
  1. Take risks- Nothing is more boring than an actor that does exactly what the audience would expect them to do. This is the same reason why using new material in interp is so important.  After finding your character’s motivation, have some fun with the line reading to discover new ways to make your characters conflict below a surface reading of the script.  Every interpretation is inherently different because of the different performers, but it is up to you to find a unique character that only you can create.


Clint Snyder is an accomplished playwright with over 50 scripts through various publishers.  He recently launched a line of scripts on the SpeechGeek Market called Interp Script House

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