TucsonStage.com Podcast

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Stage Combat

Summary: Fights have played a crucial role in theater tradition ever since the days of Roman tragedies. Back in the time of Homer and Ovid, realistic battle reenactments were encouraged, if not mandated. Should a minor actor happen to lose a hand or a head, a replacement was simply recruited from one of the conquered countries. With the advent of the Renaissance, an enlightened approach to theater fighting arrived in the person of Shakespeare, who can count fake stage combat as one of the many innovations of his illustrious career. He saw no need to sacrifice the lives of his players, unless of course they could not remember their lines. Few historians recall that after the performance of one of his main plays, the curtain would fall, only to rise again twenty minutes later to reveal a wresting ring featuring pre-WWF grudgematches between such stout thespian heroes as The Mighty Othello and Falstaff the Fighter. Also included in these popular post-play programs were comedy routines such as the Three Gentleman Stooges of Verona, much later shortened to The Three Stooges for the American viewing public. Such after-hour routines helped the players to perfect their stage combat skills for prime time presentation of the plays.

In this series of free performance videos, our expert actor demonstrates how to throw and take fake punches, how to fall backwards and sideways, and how to perform the Stooges eye poke. He also discusses placement in front of the stage audience to hide all of your professional trickery and have them believing that you are fighting for real!


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