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Thr 378 Stage Combat

INSTRUCTOR: Merlaine Angwall
COURSE #: 97-378

OFFICE PHONE: 424-7050
OFFICE HOURS: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 1:00

Stage Combat is designed to cover the fundamental techniques used in armed and unarmed combat for stage and film. The course will cover a wide range of fighting styles with the utmost attention to safety. This course will also explore concentration and relaxation skills as well as the acting, directing and choreography aspects of stage combat.

This course requires physical exertion similar to that of an exercise program. The student should discuss any physical limitations with the instructor before continuing in the class.

Since the study of stage combat is also the study of hoplology (or human violence), the student must be aware of the physical demands of the class and its primary objective, that of safety. The student will learn his/her role as actor-combatant, warm-up exercises, staging and fighting unarmed combat, sword-fighting footwork, defensive rapier forms, attack rapier forms and swashbuckling with broadswords. The student will learn about working with directors, fight directors and the Society of American Fight Directors.

The class will be divided into 4 units including:

  1. The student's role as actor-combatant, Tai Chi, Chairman Mao exercises, and various warm-ups. Emphasis will be placed on acting and movement.
  2. Unarmed Combat: knaps, slaps and punches, kicks, chokes, hair pulls, throws, falls and rolls. The role of the actor in portraying physical violence.
  3. Swordfighting: footwork, defensive rapier form, attack rapier form; integration of acting style.
  4. Swashbuckling: broadswords and technique, integration of acting style.


This includes sweats and similar "œworkout" attire. No tight fitting clothing. Tennis shoes are also required when the class is not barefoot. Please do not wear jewelry and it is a good idea to bring water to class.

The student is required to attend one of the Shakespeare on the Fox performances given by either American Players Theatre or by Aband C company. A fee is required for attendance.
Grading: The student will be graded on the following activities:

  • Tai Chi, Chairman Mao and various exercises - 100 pts
  • A 2-4 page review of the fight choreography in films, examples of films will be given in class, with final approval from instructor - 100 pts
  • An exam covering unarmed combat in an open scene - 100 pts
  • A final exam in which the student choreographs rapier/broadsword fight - 100 pts

400 pts Total

ATTENDANCE: Attendance is required. For each unexcused absence, 50 points will be deducted from the student's final grade.

by Alderson, James M last modified Apr 17, 2011 12:07 AM