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.
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.