6 ways Stage combat makes you a better actor

You’ll Be Safer Onstage

There is a common saying in stage combat circles when comparing the wrong way to do something with the right way: “Hospital. No hospital.” Your body is your instrument, and stage combat training teaches you how to keep it in one piece. You will also learn when and how to advocate for yourself if you feel that you’re being asked to take an unnecessary risk. An actor who is assured of his or her own safety in a physical scene is one who is free to create as an artist—and far less likely to have an understudy take over because of an injury. Remember: No pain…no pain.

You’ll Be Better at Performing Fight Scenes

This point might seem obvious, but it covers more scenes than you might realize. “Fight scenes” don’t just mean the climactic battles (as awesome as those are). Pivotal slap in the face during an intense drama? You’ll own that moment. Dying of a heart attack? Audience in the palm of your hand. Comic slip on a banana peel? They’ll be laughing all the way down. And if there’s a climactic duel, you’ll be better able to handle more elaborate choreography, making the most of your rehearsal time and having a far better fight than without training.

Better Overall Physical Storytelling

Stage combat is a genre of physical theater designed to articulate a clear narrative of character conflict. Practicing physical storytelling where conflict and objective are clear and up-front will only help your physical expression in any other scene. We’re in the business of telling stories. Practicing the narrative clarity of a good fight scene will carry over into your other work. When every move in a scene is a potential matter of life or death for your character, that intensity and attention to detail will infuse all of your acting technique. Which brings us to…

Significant Practice in Very High Stakes Acting

A duel with broadswords will have you portraying life-or-death situations. The stakes are not often higher than that. Training in how to get to that extreme safely and effectively will help increase your emotional range as a performer in any medium in which you find yourself performing.

Overall Physical Fitness

Acting can be hard work. The fitter you are, the better able you will be to face the demands of a role or an audition.

Deepen Your Ability to Analyze a Scene

Understanding why and how characters engage in physical violence gives us opportunities to apply dramaturgical thought in a pragmatic setting (I call this fightaturgy). What would cause your character to cross the line and assault someone? How would your character react to that kind of violation? How will that incident inform other interactions? In what cultural context does the play take place, and does that dictate how the violence will take place at all?

Stage combat is an element of theater and film wherein so many other elements combine, and yet it’s often relegated to “supplemental” training. Many performers find that getting trained in this facet of acting will yield dividends in every aspect of their lives as theater artists.


Meron Langsner

Phenomenololgy acting cont.

I believe the best way to understand and implement this theory is to investigate the scriptures to get a better understanding of what this means through a Christian perspective. The basic idea behind Phenomenological acting theory centers on self, and identity. As said in the above paragraph the actors self and identity is wrapped up in the actor’s own individual experience. I typically start my classes out by saying that God has created us. You are unique there has never been anyone like you and never will be.  If, as the phnemonolisys contend that truth only come out of our experience then our experience with the God of truth brings out a fuller understanding of Character. Also, Our experiences can be used to influence and help of connect to the charters dialogue whether or not we fully understand what the charter has gone through. For example, I do this exercise which ‘I call transference in which the students bring in an object that has great sentimental value to them. They then bring in the object and tell the story behind it: why this earns something to them, how did they get this object, how this object affects them. Once every student performed this piece the students then pull out there monologue, from a play), which they have been working on for a week and perform the monologue, but now with the image of the object or experience of the object in mind.  This exercise enables students to turn their own God given uniqueness and experiences into another character. Lots of students bring in their own religious artifacts or objects in which talk about their relationship with Christ and then use that relationship and memory of their conversion to pull them through a page of text with their monologue. The product of this exercise is amazing students connect with their piece with stronger emotions and understand the relationship better after using this technique.

Another idea expressed by the phenomenologists that I use in my Christian worldview is the idea of understanding your true self and the true self of the character. While the prior contend that the idea of self is not consent on what one thinks, speaks or determined by human nature but is a negotiated between society and hegemonic political views on the person’s race, and gender (Eastope 67); however, I would argue that the concept of self was long before Cartesian history based upon the ideas of King Solomon which he wrote in Proverbs, “ For as he thinks within himself, so he is”. With the ideas of Solomon in mind it becomes paramount for the students to understand who they are not just based on what others say they are but how they see themselves, and how God sees themselves. In order for me to use this method in the class, I try to get my students to se how God views them. I tell them to search in the scriptures to se what the Bible has to say about them.