11 Of The Best Duet Acting Scenes Every Actress Should Try
Written by Tiffany Wilkie
May 31, 2018
We’ve provided a list of challenging and unique duet acting scenes for two females. The video clips are meant to be used as a reference.
1. A scene from Stop Kiss by Diana Son (Drama)
ABOUT THE PLAY: After Callie meets Sara, the two unexpectedly fall in love. Their first kiss provokes a violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate.
2. A scene from Doubt by John Patrick Shanley (Drama)
ABOUT THE PLAY: In this brilliant and powerful drama, Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal, takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with one of the male students.
3. A scene from Collected Stories by Donald Margulies (Drama)
COLLECTED STORIES, which confronts the prominent short-story writer Ruth Steiner with her student turned confidante turned competitor Lisa Morrison. What is new here is that the women are teacher and student both in academia and in life, that they come from different social milieus, and that for her first novel, Lisa has also cannibalized Ruth’s experiences, to wit her youthful, shattering affair with the poet Delmore Schwartz.
4. A scene from Parallel Lives by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy (Comedy)
ABOUT THE PLAY: From this moment, the audience is whisked through the outrageous universe of Kathy and Mo, where two actresses play men and women struggling through the common rituals of modern life: teenagers on a date, sisters at their grandmother’s funeral, a man and a woman together in a country-western bar. With boundless humor, PARALLEL LIVES reexamines the ongoing quest to find parity and love in a contest handicapped by capricious gods—or in this case, goddesses.
5. A scene from Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward (Comedy)
ABOUT THE PLAY: The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who is called up by a visiting “happy medium,” one Madame Arcati.
6. A scene from Save Me a Place at Forest Lawn by Lorees Yerby (Comedy/Drama)
ABOUT THE PLAY: SAVE ME A PLACE AT FOREST LAWN is a small but perceptive slice of the lives of two old women, Clara and Gertrude, as they lunch at a cafeteria and face the uncertain interval of life still remaining. Tired, lonely, and weary of it all, they meet daily to discuss their grandchildren, to recall their early life, and to contemplate death, which lurks outside the cafeteria. Yet theirs is a resignation touched with wisdom and humor. When one of the ladies reveals that she had an affair with the other’s husband many years before, her friend concedes very casually that she had known about it all along. At the time she had concluded that no great harm would come of it and, besides, it seemed better to protect the friendship which might, in later years, relieve their final, mutual loneliness.
7. A scene from Saturday Night/Sunday Morning by Katori Hall (Comedy)
ABOUT THE PLAY: Saturday Night/Sunday Morning is set in a Memphis beauty shop/boarding house during the final days of WWII. Rich with humor and history, it is a story about friendship and finding love in unexpected places.
8. A scene from Independence by Lee Blessing (Drama)
ABOUT THE PLAY: The setting is the small town of Independence, Iowa, the lifelong home of Evelyn Briggs. Her oldest daughter, Kess, is a university professor in Minneapolis, but she has come home at the request of her sister, Jo, who is concerned for Evelyn’s mental health. Kess, a professed lesbian, wants to cut her family ties once and for all; Jo, an incurable romantic and longtime virgin, has now become pregnant; while Sherry, salty-tongued and amoral, wants only to finish high school so she can leave home for good. In the end, there is no accommodation possible but, instead, only a kind of arbitrary independence for each of the protagonists, as they come to realize that each must find her own heaven—or hell—in her own way.
9. A scene from Fast Girls by Diana Amsterdam (Comedy)
ABOUT THE PLAY: A precursor to Sex and the City, this fast-paced comedy is also a buddy story about two single women in the city, in the late eighties, when the sexual revolution hit a definite snag. Lucy Lewis loves men, being single, and playing the field; she is a successful career woman and a “fast girl.” Her neighbor Abigail McBride seeks a suitable husband and, in her mid-thirties, is definitely desperate, declaring that she realized, too late, that “high standards and loneliness are one and the same thing.” Lucy’s mother Mitzi comes to town. Her goal: to convince Lucy that she has GOT to settle down before it’s too late, and she sends over Lucy’s ex-boyfriend Sidney to seal the deal. In one of the funniest second acts in theater history, Lucy pretends to cook for Sidney and be a “good girl” to show him how ridiculous it is; but the charade backfires. Meanwhile, her boytoy-of-the-minute keeps turning up, never suspecting the hornet’s nest he is strolling into.Fast Girls has been produced all over the world, translated into several languages, and won the Montreal eqivalent of a Tony Award (in French). A proven crowd-pleaser, older audiences adore the character of the mother, Mitzi; single women in their twenties and thirties dramatically bond with Lucy and Abigail.
10. A scene from Baby the Bathwater by Christopher Durang (Comedy)
ABOUT THE PLAY: As the play begins Helen and John gaze proudly at their new offspring, a bit disappointed that it doesn’t speak English and too polite to check its sex. So they decide that the child is a girl and name it Daisy—which leads to all manner of future emotional and personality problems when it turns out that Daisy is actually a boy. Thereafter, in a series of brilliantly theatrical and wildly hilarious scenes, the saga of Daisy’s struggle to establish his identity continues, despite his parents’ growing obliviousness. At the outset there is a zany nanny who gives him a lethal toy to play with; then the small problem of Daisy’s penchant, as a toddler, for throwing himself in front of buses; then his bizarre problems in school; and, finally, the sessions with his analyst which enable him, at last, to accept his maleness and stop wearing dresses. In the end the play comes full circles as the former Daisy and his young bride fondly regard their own baby—forgiving of the past but determined not to repeat its calamitous mistakes.
11. A scene from Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage (Drama)
ABOUT THE PLAY: The time is 1905, the place New York City, where Esther, a black seamstress, lives in a boarding house for women and sews intimate apparel for clients who range from wealthy white patrons to prostitutes. Her skills and discretion are much in demand, and she has managed to stuff a goodly sum of money into her quilt over the years. One by one, the other denizens of the boarding house marry and move away, but Esther remains, lonely and longing for a husband and a future. Her plan is to find the right man and use the money she’s saved to open a beauty parlor where black women will be treated as royally as the white women she sews for. By way of a mutual acquaintance, she begins to receive beautiful letters from a lonesome Caribbean man named George who is working on the Panama Canal. Being illiterate, Esther has one of her patrons respond to the letters, and over time the correspondence becomes increasingly intimate until George persuades her that they should marry, sight unseen. Meanwhile, Esther’s heart seems to lie with the Hasidic shopkeeper from whom she buys cloth, and his heart with her, but the impossibility of the match is obvious to them both, and Esther consents to marry George. When George arrives in New York, however, he turns out not to be the man his letters painted him to be, and he absconds with Esther’s savings, frittering it away on whores and liquor. Deeply wounded by the betrayal, but somehow unbroken, Esther returns to the boarding house determined to use her gifted hands and her sewing machine to refashion her dreams and make them anew from the whole cloth of her life’s experiences.
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