If your shot is representative of the kind of interaction and scenarios that are required then I think you have caught the essentials. It is the expression and relationship of the two individuals and the setting that count. I hadn't even noticed the elbow being cut off or any vertical/horizontal "discrepancies"
I suspect I might have been less centred on the people and scene i.e. distracted, had it been in colour so B&W seems very appropriate to me
As far as tripod/monopod and its cumbersome and off-putting quality is concerned, 7Dayshop sells an attachment that fixes to the tripod thread and has an extendable wire that runs to your foot so acts as a monopod but with hardly anything for the subject to see.
It might be worth considering.
Best of luck with the project