During my formative years, one could definitely say that my taste in movies, TV shows, and books leaned towards the epic. I was, and still am, a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction material with "Star Wars", "Lord of the Rings", and the like occupying a place in me especially close to my heart. I think it has to do with the scope of things and the romance of all of it. I just dig that stuff. But the battle sequences sure don’t hurt either.
As I have grown, I have maintained my love for the epic content on which I cut my teeth but have also developed that love into passion for other things. My appreciation for the large scale combat in so many of my favorite films and television shows has led me towards a keen interest in the art of stage combat. For those of you not familiar with the concept of stage combat, it is basically a blanket phrase that encompasses all violence that occurs on stage during a play that must be choreographed specifically so that all those participating will be completely safe. In my program at The Theatre School, all BFA Acting students are required to take the basic level of combat so they will be prepared for any combat that might be required of them during their shows at school. This class covers all of the basics of hand-to-hand combat and also fighting with a rapier and dagger. For those who have an interest in learning more, our Combat teacher Nick Sandys offers an advanced class every winter and spring quarter. In this class, we learn additional weapons such as quarterstaff, broadsword, and knife while also deepening our skills in hand to hand, rapier, and dagger. What I love about stage combat is how much it requires you to be fully present with your partner and really take care of each other. For stage combat to be successful, one must be absolutely specific about what he or she wants from the partner and act on it, so it is a great tool in acting. I also just really like fighting with swords and stuff! So the next time you watch a battle in a movie or a fight in a play, just remember that it should feel very real but it should also be completely safe if the fight choreographer is worth his salt. If you want to learn more about the community of stage combat enthusiasts, visit the Society of American Fight Directors’ website here
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
We listen to a TON of jazz in my Movement to Music class and this is one that always gets stuck in my head without fail. Robert Glasper is the real freakin’ deal.