Fight scenes — such as the duel between Brad Pitt and Eric Bana in “Troy” — bring a movie or a play to life. The best fight scenes feel real and instill in their audiences a sense of danger. But to be that convincing takes practice.
For local actors, curious students or interested residents, that practice can begin Saturday.
The University of Wyoming’s third annual stage combat workshop will offer classes on how to fight convincingly for the screen or stage during a two-day intensive at the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts.
“It’s the choreography that’s meant to portray violence and injury but in a safe way,” said Kevin Inouye, the workshop’s organizer.
Inouye is an assistant professor in the UW Department of Theatre and Dance who specializes in acting, movement and stage combat.
“We’re going to be presenting classes on a variety of specialty topics,” Inouye said. “We do teach stage combat (at UW) but it’s fun to get different teachers’ inputs and to be able to explore those specialty niche topics we don’t cover in the normal curriculum in class, as well as open it up to a larger audience.”
Specialty niche topics include historical swashbuckling, Victorian-era stage combat, knife-fighting and “found weapons.”
Inouye said found weapons are what one might see in a Jackie Chan movie. Ladders, desks and chairs can all be utilized as weapons, with the right amount of creativity. Found weapons also include most exotic or fantasy weapons for which training is difficult.
The workshop will also go through more conventional stage weapons such as broadswords, rapiers and firearms.
Instructors will include stage combat specialists Tim Pinnow, Mike Speck and Sarah Shannon, all of whom are certified by the Society for American Fight Directors.
Despite being billed as a two-day intensive, the workshop will be informal. Inouye said people can come for whatever parts they are able to.
“It’s not like you have to come to the whole day,” he said. “It’s something we do for fun.”
The classes run from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with a lunch break at noon, in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets for the general public are $50 for one day or $75 for both. Thanks to partial funding from the Wyoming Arts Council, high school or UW students can attend one day for $20 or both days for $25.
Inouye said this was the cheapest workshop of its kind in the country, with similar workshops sometimes costing $300 or more.
Tickets can be purchased at www.uwyo.edu/thd, the Fine Arts Box Office or before the first classes Saturday morning.