STAGE COMBAT - INTRO AND SAFETY

Drama A and B - Day TWO [2/4/14]

FIGHT SCENES - Come in all shapes and sizes... Sit in your assigned seats

STAGE COMBAT- A Definition

REMEMBER: Stage combat is a specialized technique in theatre designed to create the illusion of physical combat without causing harm to the performers.


STAGE COMBAT IS an illusion - a make believe fight - it is a performance done safely through detailed planning and practice.


STAGE COMBAT IS NOT fighting. There is never any contact between combatants. It is not a surprise or unplanned or improvised.

TERMINOLOGY YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Attacker -- The attacker is the combatant initiating the a punch, kick, or slap.

Victim -- The victim is the combatant on the receiving end of any attack.

Fight Distance -- The correct spacing between you and your partner should be at least 3 to 4 feet apart. The hand should be at least 6 – 8 inches from the partner’s chest. This allows for maximum safety while maintaining the illusion of reality.

Breath -- Remember to breathe throughout the fight no matter how much physical exertion is needed.

Tension Relaxation -- Avoid becoming too tense when performing the fight.

Eye Contact -- Making eye contact prior to each and every sequence in the fight is a constant reminder to be ready and prepared for the next sequence. For example eye contact is made between the combatants before a slap is thrown to help both the attacker and victim prepare for the next move. It is not necessary to maintain constant eye contact, but it is important to “check in” before each technique, and during potentially dangerous moves.

Stance and Balance -- Always stand with your weight centered, your legs at least shoulder width apart, and with your knees slightly bent. This stance allows for freedom of movement in all directions.

Cueing -- The signal given from you to your partner at predetermined times throughout the fight. Cues should be choreographed into the fight at specific places to establish each other’s readiness to continue.

Contact Blow -- A blow delivered to a major muscle group that actually strikes the victim and produces a realistic sound.

Pulling the Energy -- Pulling the energy of a strike means the quick withdrawal of the punching or kicking action to avoid potential injury to the victim’s major muscle group.

Non-Contact -- A blow delivered with the illusion of contact, a non-contact punch always misses its target by 6 – 8 inches or more.

Reverse Energy -- Reverse energy is the concept of energy moving away from the attacker’s target area to protect the victim.

Masking -- Masking is the concept of hiding a moment of contact so that it will look as if the blow has struck its target.

Knap – the sound made by a hit or a slap- often recreated by victim or observer.

Timing -- Good timing is crucial to the effectiveness of a good stage fight.

Unarmed – Stage Combat that does not include the use of weapons.

Armed – Stage Combat which utilizes weapons.

Breaking down a punch

1. The eye contact and checking of distance

2. The send up or cocking of the arm, hand or foot

3. The follow through of the action with simultaneous knap reaction

STAGE COMBAT SAFETY RULES - QUIZ REVIEW

The basic principal and motto of stage combat:

Safety first,

Safety last,

Safety always!


REMEMBER these basic rules:



  1. · Wear comfortable clothing that you can move around in.
  2. · Always Warm-up - mentally and physically - Don't fight when you are angry or not feeling well.
  3. · PAY CLOSE ATTENTION - to yourself, your partner, and your surroundings.
  4. · Eye contact, the signal, the follow through w/ a knap
  5. · FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS and/or Fight Plan EXACTLY
  6. · NEVER GOOF OFF / FOOL AROUND/ IMPROVISE
  7. · Always respect and take care of your partner AT ALL TIMES- You are responsible for his/her safety.
  8. · DISTANCE, DISTANCE, DISTANCE - Remain a safe distance AT ALL TIMES - Minimum distance: an outstretched hand span (about 8")
  9. Perform ALL strikes and falls as instructed. Don't get creative here.
  10. · Practice in slow motion -- · You never fight at full speed, even performances are only in ¾ time
  11. · Never force the situation: Remember - · The victim determines the movement



Other Helpful Stage Combat Safety Tips:

· Work in a clear open space.

· Avoid high heels, boots, slippery shoes or socks.

· Remove all jewelry and empty your pockets.

· Always rehearse in slow motion.

· Each performer should be able to move about freely in all directions.

· All partner A’s face the same direction and all B’s face the same direction.

· Keep on the lookout for accidents that can happen around you and your partner.

· Watch out for the other performers wandering around you to make sure they don’t unknowingly enter your practice space.

· Work at the same tempo as your partner whether you are working in slow motion while you learn a technique, or whether you are moving at a faster pace when you bring it up to performance speed.

· Respect the slower speed if two partners are working at different tempos.

· When training, never use too much force or speed.

· Respect your partner and work at their capacity and training level.

· Understand that it should take several weeks or months of training and rehearsal to bring your fight performance level.

· Before beginning each session, look around and make sure your space is clear of furniture, other actors, and that the floor is clean and free of nails.

· Work in lots of light.

· In performance situations, always rehearse the fight many weeks before opening night, so that memory is not a problem

· Avoid staging, or rehearsing fights in tight spaces.

· Keep a first aid kit handy in case of accidents

· Whether in training sessions, or performance situations,


SAFETY IS A STATE OF MIND

Safety Horror Stories - The Unlucky Thirteen

Why even a slap can be dangerous - and why we don't just go on and hit...


1. Catching the eyeball with a fingernail can cause permanent blindness or a dislocated lens, not to mention serious pain in the moment.


2. A stray fingernail can rip the eyelid, lip, or other tender parts on the face.


3. Covering the ear with a slapping hand can cause a miniature vacuum in the ear canal, which can rupture the eardrum, causing permanent deafness.


4. Slapping the ear with an open hand can cause “cauliflower ear,” a common disfigurement seen in boxers.


5. It takes a modest clap to dislocate the jaw.


6. It takes a strong clap to break the collarbone.


7. If earrings are worn,there are potential rip or puncture hazards. If rings are worn, the face or anything on it can be torn.



8. Not to mention a basic lost contact lens or glasses gone to the floor or askew, which is disconcerting in the middle of a scene.


9. Or a bloody nose, which stops the action, scares an audience, and ruins costumes.


10. Just a little adrenaline (which we all have when onstage) can cause the “victim” to bite her tongue or lip.


11. Just a little more adrenaline than the above example can knock out a tooth.


12. Ever have a broken nose? The pain and shiners will put you out of work for a while. If part of your nose’s bone is driven into the brain, you could suffer internal facial bleeding (yuck), or even, in extreme cases, brain damage or death.


13. The temple is a tender spot, and you can suffer brain damage or death if it is struck with force.


Boughn, Jenn (2010-09-21). Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theater and Film (p. 3). Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

LET'S TAKE THE QUIZ - WHEN YOU ARE DONE, TURN IT OVER AND WAIT FOR DIRECTIONS

"Warming up" is Essential

BREATHING - to get control of mind and body

* Counted and controlled breathing

* Focused breaths

* Cleansing Breaths


STRETCHES - to prepare body for movement

* Toe Touch

* Countdown- Blastoff

* Side Stretches

* Jog in Place

* Shake it off

WORD BANK FOR QUIZ

SAFETY * WARM UP * PARTNER * COMFORTABLE * FORCE * EIGHT * TEN * FIVE * MOVE * SURROUNDINGS * PLANNED * EYE * HIT OR MOVE * ANGRY * SLOW * VICTIM * FULL * 1/4 * 3/4 * YOURSELF * GOOF OFF * CREATIVE * IMPROVISE * EXACTLY * INSTRUCTIONS * YOU


Some words may not be used and some may be used more than once.