Backhanded slaps, knees to the groin, and running around wearing a blindfold- these things are not found in your average college classroom, but down at the PepsiCo Theatre, the TF Performance Workshop teaches skills to students which differentiate from normal curriculum.
This year the TF faculty welcomes guest instructor David Chandler who specializes in fight choreography and stage combat. Once every other week for the fall semester, students spend three hours learning proper stage combat techniques.
In addition to working on how to safely “slap” your scene partner, students spent a lot of time this past week learning the techniques of slow motion fighting. This type of fight choreography involves carefully mapped out timings, eye contact, and appropriate facial and physical reactions. Stage combat can be dangerous, if done incorrectly or haphazardly, so Chandler also devotes a lot of class time on community building exercises.
The first week, students participated in an activity in which they ran down an open stretch of street with their eyes closed. It was up to their classmates to keep them safe and tell them when to stop running to stay out of harms’ way. For the past two classes, Chandler supervised a game in which two or three blinded-folded students traverse an obstacle-laden room in search of a set of keys. The rest of the class watches in silence and only speaks to warn the players of potential dangers they may run into.
Though this class is offered by the theatre department, it is open to all students who are interested in theatre, performance techniques, or even just team building. Shannon Galgay, a junior nursing major, said that she decided to enroll in the class “because it’s badass.”
As badass as this class indeed is, it’s only half of the curriculum for the course. Look out for a post in the future which will cover the art of clowning!