The best acting scenes for two people consist of not only memorable performances, but those which have the power to strike an immediate chord with an audience. Since acting is reacting, some of the most intense acting occurs between two people, making it easier to capture the attention of a casting director or audience of any kind.
“Hamlet” – In William Shakespeare’s play, Act IV, scene IV, between Hamlet and King Claudius. After the murder of Polonius, Hamlet's s traumatic encounter with his mother has made him unstable and frantic, his actions resembling madness. Hamlet taunts Claudius with an almost obvious hostility. He makes light of Polonius’s murder using word games. Hamlet does not know that Claudius has gone so far as to ask the English to execute him. Even if someone is not particularly familiar with "Hamlet," the scene carries enough weight to have an impact on any audience.
“Driving Miss Daisy” – This story was directly taken from a stage play. It takes place in the American South, between an old, racist Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur, Hoke. This scene takes place in the third act, when Miss Daisy gives Hoke a writing book as a gift and mentions that she taught Mayor Hartsfield using the same book, this expresses a level of acceptance one would never expect. Miss Daisy uses the book to teach Hoke. This represents the essence of understated tension which makes it one of the best acting scenes for two people.
“Elizabeth” – Taking place in the second act of this period piece, one of the ten best acting scenes for two people includes the scene when the Queen receives word that Walter Raleigh and her lady in waiting have married. She was enormously attracted to, and rumored to have had a torrid affair with Raleigh. He betrays her first by having an affair with her closest lady in waiting, Elizabeth Trockmorton. When they marry, it crushes Queen Elizabeth. The very stoic, but visibly upset Elizabeth, ponders her personal, as well as England's future.
“Schindler's List” – This very tense film takes place in Poland during World War II. Oskar Schindler becomes concerned about his Jewish workers when it is apparent that there is persecution of them by the Nazis. This scene halfway through the film occurs at Goeth's house, where Schindler speaks with Goeth's servant, Helen Hirsch about her employer. When Oskar Schindler, in a very tense moment, offers Goeth to play a game of cards to try to win the freedom of prisoner and servantt, Helen Hirsch – the odds are double or nothing. Given the odds, this moment, though quiet, crackle with intensity as an edge-of-your-seat scene for any audience.
- “Heat” – This Los Angeles crime story has some similarities to L.A. Confidential relative to its grittiness. "Heat" is about the intertwining lives of two men on opposite sides; one is a detective; the other is a thief. The third act scene between the two main characters comes just after the cop pulls over the thief, resulting in them sitting together in a nearby restaurant. They both reflect on their lives, more like two old friends who'd lost touch, than a couple of people who have been in a cat and mouse pursuit. This is one of the best acting scenes for two people mostly because it is so rare that a cop sits before a criminal in a public setting to have a discussion, as any other normal two people would do. Despite the fact that it occurs between two male characters, it could be adapted for a woman and man or two women, as well.
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