#20 Managing a Weapons Inventory

#20 Managing a Weapons Inventory

Start designing fights for productions, and the need for weapons quickly arises. Where do those come from? The theatre? A rental house? From you? What happens when the actors break your toys? Today I talk with R&D Choreography founder Rick Gilbert about the ways a weapon inventory can benefit the working violence designer. Rick also …

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#17 Designing Melees, Part 2: Alarums and Excursions

#17 Designing Melees, Part 2: Alarums and Excursions

In this episode, we’re covering the second half of our discussion on melees! Today we get down to brass tacks: what format are you using to tell this story, what are the two major styles of melees, what are feature fights and chaos moments, and how Twyla Tharp taught me to choreography battle scenes!  

#16 Designing Melees, Part 1: The 3 Throughlines

#16 Designing Melees, Part 1: The 3 Throughlines

Today on episode #16 of the Violence Design Lab podcast, we’re talkin’ melees! That’s right: Group fights! Rumbles! Battles! How to define them, how to negotiate them with directors, and most of all, how the heck to design them! This is Part One of a two-part series.

#15 Fight the True Fight (Not the Drill)

#15 Fight the True Fight (Not the Drill)

They say in theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there always is. In a competitive environment, you probably won’t see that obvious, single-intention attack like the treatise seems to show and you drilled so often. But if you’re paying attention to what the drill is really teaching you, after all …

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#14 Fight Inertia, or, Why Don’t We See Double Hits on Stage?

#14 Fight Inertia, or, Why Don’t We See Double Hits on Stage?

When I need a sound byte to convey my particular aesthetic of violence design, my default style if you will, I describe it as “personal, painful, desperate, and as real to an audience four feet away as it is at forty.” I often call it “Chicago Style,” because it developed during my 16 years of …

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#13 Hold the Beer: Allen Johnson

#13 Hold the Beer: Allen Johnson

HEMA vs. Stage Combat: Vampires & Werewolves? Today on the show, we’re talking about things that theatre people wish HEMA practitioners knew about stage combat and things HEMA folks wish stage combatants understood about historical fighting. Notice I say “we” are talking about this, because I’m joined today by Allen Johnson, HEMA-ist, violence designer, stunt …

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#12 Historical Realism vs. Drama

#12 Historical Realism vs. Drama

“Stage combat is bollocks! It doesn’t look like real sword fighting at all!” “Theatre doesn’t have to show reality! We’re telling stories!” These two perspectives often clash when fencers or students of Historical European Martial Arts talk about theatrical fighting with stage combat people. But the “realism” mindset and the “drama” perspective don’t have to …

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#11 Learn by Telling Fight Stories

#11 Learn by Telling Fight Stories

It’s no secret that my career focus has always been designing fights for theatre rather than teaching any kind of competitive sword play. But the act of telling fight stories isn’t just for theatre artists: it has a broader application for martial artists as well. In this episode, I call attention to the benefits of thinking of …

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