Knife vs. Magazine

bourne knife fight
Bourne’s famous Kinfe vs. Magazine fight

Was flown up to teach combat and Suzuki at the TN Thespian Conference last weekend and even got to fight my brother!  Connor — who is also an actor combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors — joined me in Murfreesboro, TN to teach masterclasses in knife, improv, and Rodenburg’s circles.

Getting to work with, and learn from, other skilled artists is one of the best parts of this kind of conference but getting to work with and learn from my brother was incredible.  My own combat masterclass was in Unarmed (alluringly titled, “Fight Club”), so Connor helped me choreograph a very pugilistic fight between two characters with training and intent to kill — not usually the case in contemporary plays, though much more common in TV/Film.  Since the class drew 60+ high schoolers each time it was taught, having him there to partner me and help coach students was excellent.

Connor rolling magazines -- these things hurt!
Connor rolling magazines — these things hurt!

My brother’s masterclass (“Bourne to Knife Fight”…get it?!) centered on teaching a very intricate and brutal, knife vs. magazine fight he choreographed, inspired by Jason Bourne’s encounter in The Bourne Supremacy.  The beauty of Knife is that neither hand/arm is ever just hanging out, they are always moving in concert or opposition.  Great practice for Kali or Rapier Dagger work and it was fun to brush up my skills.

The lesson of Connor’s choreo: if you aren’t Jason Bourne, don’t bring a magazine to a knife fight.


It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

It's a Wonderful Life 2014
Connor Hammond, Elizabeth Price, James Taylor Odom, Amelia Fischer, Alex Van, Matt Magill

Driving away from my contract with the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, I had time (when taking a break from my audio book and striking out trying to phone-a-friend) to enjoy the experience of the last few weeks.  My third time performing in this show, I so enjoyed playing Mary Bailey again this year but with a new cast and in my hometown!  Sharing the stage with my brother was incredible, and being a part of rediscovering this lovely story in the radio format was a blast.  We played to sold out houses in Brenau University’s Downtown Center (a theatre I grew up playing various Cratchit children in) and partnered with the local radio station, WDUN, to broadcast the show live on opening night and Christmas night.  Favorite on-stage sound effect this year: a metal washboard and scrub brush to produce the engine of a train!