There are a lot of unwritten rules of theatre etiquette, especially when it comes to performing a two-hander. Here are five ways to ensure a solid and lasting relationship with your scene partner.
by Kyle Gatehouse of Matt and Kyle and Matt
1. Learn Your Partner's Lines
This is useful so that you can silently mouth them in time with your partner as they deliver them. This way the audience is impressed that you know both your own lines and your partner's. Also, it makes you look like a big stupid who isn't paying attention to what their mouth is doing during the scene and it throws me off when I have to look at your idiot lips mouthing my lines, Mark.
2. Practical Jokes
Honesty is one of the most important aspects of a good performance. How better to bring out an honest reaction than to switch the tea in your partner's prop teacup with your own urine! Nothing is more honest than a small puke-burp onto my costume during a pivotal, dramatic scene. Thanks, Mark!
3. Pull Focus
Actors must at all times be in total control of their bodies and emotions. Putting yourself under your own microscope of perfection can lead to painful loops of self-criticism. What better way to save your scene partner from their own harsh appraisal than to upstage them during one of their most crucial monologues! There is such a thing as cheap laughs that undermine our work, but since you feed on human suffering I suppose your sustenance is more important than the success of our show, Mark.
4. Give Your Partner Notes After Every Performance
A good way to ensure that your scenes stay fresh and interesting is to give your scene partner notes as soon as you step off stage. Conventionally, it's the director's job to tweak the scenes and provide constructive criticism, but sometimes it's best to skip the formalities and tell me that my instincts should be more like yours and that if I just followed your lead all of our scenes would sing. (Mark, try to detect the subtle tones of sarcasm throughout this article. I know it will be difficult for you, since your superior instincts consistently push you to ever broader, less-subtle choices, but if you could just focus for two seconds you might be able to pick up on them.)
5. Talk To My Girlfriend After The Show
A great way to strengthen your relationship with your scene partner is to flirt with his girlfriend after the show. Your partner has already confided in you that his relationship means everything to him, but that it has been on the rocks lately, so why not swoop in and make things worse! Did you know that she awkwardly broached the subject of a threesome the other night, and "just happened" to think of you for the coveted third position?
Hey Mark, I hope you die!