My dear friend Gina is stage managing the Fools’ Theatre Libertine, so last week she asked me if I could lend them some rehearsal clothes; in a what-could-it-hurt kind of return favor, Thursday night I got to stop by a fight rehearsal!
David Dean Hastings of En Garde Entertainment is fight directing, and though we hadn’t met, he kindly threw me in for an absent actor in the “constable gets beaten up” scene. The missing actor? Constable. :0) So I spent about an hour getting kicked, kneed, and slapped in the face, kicked in the I-don’t-even-have-those, and having my face ground into a very nice young man’s crotch. (“Hi, by the way, I’m Megan.” “Hi! I’m Simon. I suppose I should have introduced myself first…”)
Other than general fun and silliness, I took two things away from rehearsal: one, because the seats in the theater are on a rather steep incline, and thus most audience members above the constable as he sits on the ground getting abused, David had the actors take their targets very low so that it would *read* as face. Like, mid-chest low. This is something I haven’t encountered before and find intriguing; can’t wait to see it from the audience.
And two, it was fun to watch David work! When I work on shows, I’m usually the choreographer, the big stage-combat enchilada; I make it up as I go along and try not to hurt anyone. So at the same time that I was watching and learning about technique and tone, I was also getting the sense that, hey, real grown-ups work off the cuff, too: throw out ideas and have new ones, get inspired by jokes or accidents, take suggestions from the actors. I’ve been working with all these awesome guys lately — Mike Yahn, Mike Chin, Ray Rodriguez, Tink and Brimmer — but in the contexts of classes, not shows, and it’s a different vibe. An evening well spent (even before the Carbon Leaf show!)