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Title: Principles of Stage Combat
Author: Claude D. Kezer
Publisher: I. E. Clark
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It's an important distinction: competition vs. choreography. All too often in drama classes for students of all ages, students who are acting out fighting scenes succumb to the temptation to one-up their partner. Instead of working with their partner to make the audience think they are fighting, student actors will really compete with each other and therefore cease to be in a working partnership.
A good drama teacher needs to be able to teach three very important things: the idea of working with (not against) the partner, physical strength and flexibility, and the choreography behind stage combat techniques.
"Principles of Stage Combat" is a useful tool for the drama teacher who wants to impart this knowledge to students.
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Working With the Partner
The premise behind this book is that actors who are fighting on stage are working very closely with one another. They need to be able to trust each other and keep each other safe from real harm.
Every drama student needs to understand this before he or she can be allowed to move learn stage combat.
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The book spells out specific exercises and techniques in easy to read language, and is full of photographs of people performing the actions described.
The first few chapters of this book discuss the need for physical strength and flexibility, and the ability to break a fall. When students are fit, healthy, and warmed up, they need to learn to fall without getting hurt. Then teachers can use the techniques in this book to build the students' skills by showing safe ways to tumble, roll, and fall down stairs.
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The rest of the book continues in its clear and understandable format to cover everything from basic stomping and kicking to formal sword battle and fencing techniques.
If you want to teach your drama students to safely look as though they are hitting, kicking, throwing, choking, and fighting each other, this book is a must-have. And for everybody's safety, no drama student should be allowed to portray fight scenes without first learning these techniques.