Theatre at Malone to Perform a Showcase of Stage Combat

By: Alyssa Crowley

 

As part of theatre at Malone’s fall season, a production featuring staged scenes of combat will be performed Oct. 10-13 at 8 p.m. The stage in Founders Hall has not hosted a production like this since 2010, when alumnus Brad Eick—a senior at the time—showcased En Garde, a production of fight scenes from films and plays which Eick either choreographed or performed in. This fall, Eick is working as director, instructor and fight choreographer to help create a show that demonstrates safe and realistic fights of different styles accompanied by character dialogue. Director of theatre, Tammie McKenzie, is producing this performance, which she says was greatly inspired by students’ voiced interest in an in-depth practice of stage combat. McKenzie emphasized Malone’s innovation in holding a showcase of this specialty. “It is unusual in a[n undergraduate] liberal arts program to have as much training we’ve been giving in stage combat,” McKenzie said. Many students who wish to receive this level of experience go through a graduate school actor training program. However, many of the students having the opportunity to be trained for this showcase are not the-atre majors, as theatre at Malone encourages students from across campus to audition for productions. The actors will perform a variety of scenes from films, plays and potentially even musi-cals, featuring technical elements of lighting, sound, costuming and weaponry. Swords used for both the rapier and swashbuckling fighting styles will be utilized by the actors, along with possibly some shield, broadsword and quarterstaff weaponry. An acting fundamentals course is offered at Malone, and through this course several students have had the opportunity to dab-ble in some of the basics of these combat techniques. The course offers training in rapier and swashbuckling, and several stu-dents who have been introduced to these are looking forward to learning other fighting styles for this showcase. This will differ from the performances within the class not only with respect to the variety of fighting styles but also concerning fullness of production. Basics taught in the class (and in the begin-ning stages of rehearsal for those new to stage combat) will be used as a starting point and then applied to scenes with faster fight pacing and more elements of plot. “The key when doing stage combat is safety,” Eick said. He pointed out that begin-ning to work on fights slowly leads to good safety habits to acclimate to faster, more realistic fighting. Christian Sanko, sophomore commu-nication arts major who is involved in the theatre, is excited for this production to take the stage. “I think one of the biggest challenges [for the actors] will be holding character and holding the story through combat,” Sanko said. When considering safety with weapon-ry and staged hits along with realistic pacing, an actor must also ensure that their charac-ter integrity is believable and that the story is being told effectively. In a combat-heavy production, as Sanko said, “there’s so much more to keep track of.” This level of production value of stage combat is what McKenzie and Eick think will intrigue the audience. Students and community members wishing to witness this showcase are asked to, in lieu of purchasing a ticket, bring a canned good that will be donated to a local food bank, as theatre at Malone is using the stage combat showcase as its regular service project.

 

September 17, 2018

LXIII Issue No. 1

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