The Art of Combat

Grade 8 drama students have been working up a sweat during stage combat training. These special workshops bring another layer of expression and authenticity to their stage performances.

“It’s been a great opportunity for the drama students to learn how to perform conflict and escalation onstage,” says Middle School drama teacher Tim Evans. “The important thing for the kids to understand is that conflict in a performance is planned, never improvised. Actors need to go home and then come back for the next show without visible marks.”

Another advantage, Evans says, is that this type of training taps into his students’ interests. Boys benefit from learning through movement and hands-on activity. He emphasizes that physical conflict needs to be used carefully in performances. “The intent is that it’s just part of the story and not something that shocks the audience, because that can pull them out of the experience.” 

“The kids bring a lot of excitement to the process, which we work to channel,” says instructor Kevin Robinson, is a certified fight instructor with Fight Directors Canada and an experienced stunt coordinator who led the January workshops. “Safety is rule number one. By making them focus on the positioning and movement of their limbs, we slow them down.”

Once they have the basics under their belt, the boys create choreographed “fight” performances which they practice to perfection. Some of their new skills will be on display at the Middle School production of Food for the Eagle, a Viking epic that has transformed the Cortellucci Family Theatre into a Nordic mountain range. The play runs from February 6 to 8 and tickets can be purchased online through the Green Room.