Monday, November 13, 2006


During yesterday's "stumble-through," the whole cast had the opportunity to see the brilliant fight sequence that company member Jon Campbell choreographed for Sam Dingman and Cameron J. Oro. Though it, like everything else in the show, still needs quite a bit of rehearsal (it's okay, we don't open until after New Year's), it really reminded me why I love stage combat so much and made it very clear why combat is currently so in vogue (see Vampire Cowboys, Friday Night Fight Club, et al). For starters, it's undeniably a lot of fun: fun to create, fun to rehearse, fun to perform, fun to watch. More importantly, it models so many components of Stolen Chair's rehearsal philosophies:
  1. It demands collaboration, not only between the doers, but between the choreographer and the combatants. As Stolen Chair has learned (time and time again), stage combat which isn't created on/for the specific bodies of the participants will invariably look wooden or worse, actually endanger one or more of the combatants. The same level of collaboration is vital for the director-actor relationship. No matter how many hours I spend researching and working theatrical moments out in my head, once I step into the rehearsal I need to table those dreams and schemes and deal with the "real": the actors' abilities, interests, and passions.
  2. In order for either combatant to pull off the fight sequence, they need to work very hard to make their scene partners look good--if only actors could approach every scene with this selfless commitment.
  3. It provides a complex physical score which the actors must use as a vehicle to carry the characters' emotional dynamics. When Stolen Chair creates a production, every moment is precisely "scored," and this challenges any actor working with the Chairs to find the freedom within that structure.
  4. It forces an important playful distance between the actor and the character. In order to prevent mutual injury, the actors can never actually yield (even in the slightest) to the anger and aggression they are performing, retaining the space between the actor and the mask.
We look forward to sharing our li'l brawl with you in January. Tickets are already on sale for Kill Me Like You Mean It...

Oh, and if you are reading this entry (and especially if you are a regular reader of this blog), drop a comment so we know you're out there.

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