New Jersey Stage December 2014 | Page 115

The common perception of stage combat involves sword fighting on stage but this is only a portion of what stage combat covers. The practice also includes how to fall on stage, kick, punch, slap, shove, and grab another actor that when performed is convincing to an audience. Actors need to perform the combat safely and still “sell” the action to an audience. The importance of knowing the basics of stage combat cannot be over stressed as a fundamental tool in any actor’s toolbox as most projects will at times involve the need for some sort of physical confrontation. I interviewed Jared Kirby of Leonia, NJ who has been working in Stage and Screen Combat for almost 20 years and is a Certified Fight Director with the Art of Combat (AoC), an international stage combat organization. Kirby and professionals like him are hired by a theater or film company when any type of unarmed or armed sequence is needed to be staged, similar to when productions hire dance choreographers or musical directors. Unarmed stage combat, the practice of knowing how to do falls, throw stage punches, kicks, slaps, etc., is the most common type of stage combat. How important is it that all actors know these skills? Absolutely imperative. I am disappointed that so many professional training programs these days under emphasize this important skill. Conflict is the essence of any good storytelling and therefore many productions will include some sort of violence. It may be a simple push, fall or slap, but every actor will be involved in some sort of violence early in their career. It is in these little moments that we have a tremendous opportunity to tell the audience more about the character and express something that can’t be shared in words. Many times I see this opportunity glossed over because people don’t understand how to use vio- Advertise here for $25 - $100 call 732-280-7625 pg 115