Stage Combat with Teen Theatre

I’ve been tweaking the website to make my “Theatre-for-Teens” page a little more user-friendly.  I haven’t focused on publishing (MFA Playwriting programs emphasize producing and networking), so I want to make my page for teens accessible and approachable.

And as I tweaked, I realized I probably should address something – there’s something of stage combat in every play. This is intentional. I swear.

Swords: And Then, She Picks Up the Sword, The Untitled Pirate Play, Space Carl (plus lasers), [a different] Romeo & Juliet, Nameless in the Desert, Third Street, Basement Demons, Icarus (ish)

Hand-to-Hand: Two Truths and Lies, Icarus, Deleted Scenes from Fairy TalesVery Best Coffee, The Twelve HuntsmenThe Jungle Book

A couple years ago, after we spent hours choreographing a sword fight, a student told me, “I thought I trusted (her scene partner) before, but now I REALLY trust him!” And at that moment, she articulated something I had a sense of, but hadn’t put into words myself – that stage combat required and, thus taught, trust.

And I do love it. Spectacle. Conflict. Tension. If done correctly, if done safely, it’s undergirded by trust. Stage combat teaches the opposite of what you’re pretending to do.

Theatre is, of course, built on trust, so this is hardly a revolutionary thought; however, it does highlight that the dramaturgy of purpose for doing a play goes beyond the audience. Theatre for teens is about the art, it’s about theme and story and character, and about the experience of the actor.


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