#39: Stage Combat Stories

Dear Friends,

I promised earlier I’d ask around for some good stage-combat related “war stories.”  Here’s what I dug up:

Robert Spencer (Feste):

Many years ago, I was in a production of George Farquhar’s The Beaux Stratagem at St Louis Repertory.  I played Aimwell, one of the Beaux.  Never having had stage combat experience or training, our fight choreographer took me under his wing and spent an inordinate amount of time teaching  me all the moves.  I finally learned the routine with  some aplomb and the fight turned out to be one of the most spectacular, funniest, story driven pieces of choreography I’ve ever seen, or experienced.  However, one night my fight partner thrust when he should have parried, and pierced my lower lip with his rapier.  I proceeded to bleed and the audience was all abuzz.  “He’s bleeding, he’s hurt,” etc, etc.  All I could think about was bleeding all over my beautiful jabot.  Fortunately, it was near the end of the play and we finished just fine.  After the performance my fight partner came to my dressing apologizing profusely, and very sheepishly admitted he had lost one of his contact lenses during the matinee performance and was distracted because of it.  ZOUNDS!
Jefferson Slinkard (Sir Toby):
Really too many to mention.  Lots of scars to prove them.  The best is
one that was told to me by a freind who grew up doing a summer outdoor
Passion Play in Spearfish S.D.   When Jesus is on the cross and the
Roman soldier stabs him in the side, they used a foam rubber tipped
spear.  As the story goes, the Roman grabbed the wrong spear one night and
as he was skewered, the actor on the cross cried out; “Jesus Christ!
I’ve been stabbed”.  My personal stories can’t come anywhere near that.

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