TBC Theatre ensemble member Myles Tankle has taken on the challenging role of AD and Fight Director for our upcoming production of 'Made in China'.
Without giving too much away, we can certainly say that the text itself packs a punch - it's full of witty, dirty, fast-paced dialogue, definitely a challenge in itself for our 3 actors. Add on top of that a fight scent that needs to happen in a roughly 4x4 metre 'apartment' with some rather creative weapons (you may have noticed the prosthetic leg on our posters?) - and you've got yourself one hefty piece of theatre.
We asked Myles to give us a bit of an insight into his experience working on 'Made in China' - so here it is...
A fight director is a person who has mastered the art of staged violence, and it is very much an art form. I am not a ‘fight director’. This title takes years of study and practice to achieve this title. So with respects to qualified fight directors out there, I’d like to give my point of view of what it is to collaboratively create a fight scene.
I remember my teacher saying once that the choreography itself doesn’t actually matter. It must tell a story. We should actually aim not to notice the fight. The actors should take the choreography and breathe into it the living reality of being pushed so far that words no longer suffice to deal with a problem. Violence is a last resort and the audience should see and feel this.
Much of staged combat relies on distance, timing, some form of physical contact and an intense awareness and focus on the actor playing opposite you. We are always working for the other person, whether aggressor or victim. These roles must be clearly defined as oddly enough, it’s the victim that must be in control, so that the perceived violence can remain totally safe. Then there are the many tricks to play with. The Audience’s viewing angles, inventive uses of space and movement technique to name just a few. Throw in some actors and that’s where the fun really begins.
It’s been joy to work collaboratively and steadily to create a series of moments that add up to what is an effective and exciting bit of staged violence between three Irish blokes in a living room somewhere in Dublin. Some of us have trained in some form of martial art and/or stage combat whilst some have not had any martial training. Interestingly enough this is not a hindrance as it has given us a unique set of skills as a foundation to work with and the chance to learn and consolidate that learning.
Our challenges have been many. Our space is not a regular theatre space. Our seating layout meant that a lot of simple stage combat angles instantly became more complex, the text jumps between violence to descriptive rhetoric back to violence, and in fact, it never settles. The characters use of weapons adds yet another layer and on top of that and the space is much smaller than one would like to believe it is.
Despite these challenges, I believe we have crafted a dynamic scene that looks realistic and clearly furthers the action of the text. It’s the story that’s important, and the playwright Mark O’Rowe has written a brilliant one. After all, what’s a bit of good old Irish craic without a bit of a fight for good measure?
Made in China
July 8th to 25th 2015.
Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat - at 7.30pm.
Q44 Theatre, 1st Floor, 550 Swan St Richmond.
Ticket prices - Full $30 / Concession $25