Slaps & Slashes: Introduction to Stage Combat
Slaps & Slashes is our prerequisite course for our ongoing stage combat program. This intensive 4-hour workshop provides the opportunity to gain the fundamentals of safety with unarmed and weapons skills for the stage and film. An ideal program for actors, stunt people, and other film professionals, you will learn stage combat fundamentals including:
- Hair Pulls
- Sword parries and footwork
- Sword attacks
- Wounds and death
See our Workshop Schedule for upcoming dates.
More About Stage & Screen Basics
Creating the illusion of violence is a vital part of many plays and films. The climax of a majority of stories is some physical confrontation, be it a slap in a drama, a swordfight in Shakespeare, or a massive battlefield in a war movie. The art of stage combat puts tools into the hands of the performer to keep them safe in those circumstances.
Safety is our primary concern during the program, but it’s only the first step, as we want our heroes to look skilled, for the victims to look like they’re really hurt, for the villain to be convincingly overcome, and for the murder to be horrible.
In short, we do stage combat because we want to create a heart-stopping climax for the audience while keeping actors safe.
Actors need to have a variety of skills and comprehensive training to be effective actor-combatants. The first is a selection of techniques that includes several types of punches, slaps, ways to fall, sword manoevers, staff manipulation, and ways to conceal safety tricks. The second is the ability to perform the choreography consistently and at a believable pace with good timing with a partner. The third ingredient is incorporating the fight into the play with dialogue, character choices, connection with your partner and the scene; including portrayal of anger in the attacker, fear in the victim, exhaustion in a long fight and the pain of wounds.
Stage combat is a shortcut to mastering your instrument by incorporating:
- Interacting with another character in a life-or-death situation
- Playing fear, anger, injury and effort while still concentrating on the choreography
- Staying aware of your environment
- Moving around the stage with purpose
- Breathing, yelling and speaking your lines while exerting yourself