Saturday, 12 November 2011

NaNoBlogMo 12 - Medfest 2007 Fight

Below is my favorite chessboard fight from the three I did in college. Feel free to just watch the video, or to also read up a bit more about it below.

Elysse, Tom and I were scripted to fight each other on the chessboard my junior year (Elysse's senior year, Tom's sophomore...spanning the generations, ah yeah). The script/notes for the chessboard said "TOM and ELYSSE fight. SPROFFEE wins." I loved it.

The backstory of our characters were that Elysse and I were sisters. She was a wealthy merchant and I was a fletcher (arrow maker). During the Crusades, since a lot of the towns men were at war, the duchess of Ravensburg (the town we were set in) had some women dress up as men and learn how to fight to protect that town. I was one of them, therefore Josephine became Jose'sph. Tom was one of the soldiers that came with a pompous lord to try and marry the duke and duchess's daughter and take over the town. Elysse was on the side of the chessboard with the duke's son (really their daughter in disguise) and Tom was fighting for the lord. When they ended up fighting on the chessboard, my character jumps in as the overly protective sibling to try and stop them, which is where the video picks up.

It is hard to make any stage combat look really good, and it is harder when you are trying to convey something other than just "I am trying to hit you with my weapon!". In our fight I was trying to just keep Elysse/Julia from fighting to keep her safe and actually hit Tom/the soldier, whereas both of them were just trying to kill each other and me if I got in the way. I hope that comes across.

On top of all that, a three person fight is trickier still. How many times have you seen a group fight in a movie, one of those unrealistic scenes were the angry evil hordes are facing your one hero and you can't help but think "why are they fighting him one on one and not all rushing him at the same time?" (At least that's what I'm thinking...I focus more on combat scenes in movies and TV shows since I started learning stage combat.) We tried to make the fight seem realistic in that no one was ever just waiting for their turn. We had a lot of moments where all three of us are actively moving/fighting/interacting, and any time where it was just two fighting we tried to make sure the third was doing something like recovering from a blow or retrieving a weapon. At one point I actually wrote us up a spreadsheet to show what each person was doing at any point in time.

As with any fight we practiced until we got it down cold. You always want to make sure you know exactly when to expect that great big piece of metal to be swinging at your head. I remember one rehearsal where Tom had to miss it but the chessboard head has Elysse and I run the fight without him. It was a bit like the two of us were fighting a ghost. I wish I had a video of that rehearsal.

Just as one last geeky note when it comes to this fight. I mentioned before this month what a nerd I am about Wheel of Time. There is a moment in one of the books (maybe book 3? I forget) where a character called Mat fights two people at once. He uses a quarterstaff and both of the others use swords. I love that moment in the books and have reread that scene constantly. When I realized I was going to be fighting both Tom and Elysse I wanted to recreate that moment, if possible. I know we do a lot of weapon switching, especially towards the beginning, but I was adamant that at some point I got to fight using a quarterstaff while they both had swords. My favorite quick succession of moves in the fight is probably from about 2:10 to 2:25.

Alright, that's all for now. Please excuse this post if its a bit crap. I don't really have time to review/edit as I'm a bit behind!

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