Saturday, August 30, 2008

folding chair drunk-fight

I love when the fight choreographer shows up to rehearsal. "Ten Cent Night" has some physical comedy that requires expert coaching so the actors can perform the rough-housing consistently and safely. One thing that needed some fight choreography is a drunk-fight between an actor and the folding chair to which she is handcuffed. Our fight director had never encountered this sort of fight before (human vs. folding furniture), so he had to do some test runs on himself to see how to do it safely. What has to happen is the actor has to fall off the chair from sitting position, and drag the chair down on top of her as she slips out of it. The concrete rehearsal room floor was a challenge: premature chair leg slippage that makes the fall harder to control. I tried the stunt a couple times myself (I like to empathize with actors when I make them do strange shit). It's scary the first couple times you do it until you figure out how to control your fall. It'll be different on the wood stage floor. Then, when it gets to the chair-fight, actor Anna has to keep a hold on the chair with her cuffed hand so she doesn't jar her wrist on the cuffs. Handcuffs hurt, man. They're not designed for comfort.

When I wrote this scene, I bought a pair of toy handcuffs at Walgreen's and handcuffed myself to a folding chair to figure out how to write it. I bashed the cheap metal of the toy handcuffs so badly that I couldn't get out of them. I hauled a folding chair around my apartment looking for a flat-head screwdriver to pry up the bent metal, wondering how I was going to explain myself if I had to call somebody for help. Don't expect quality cuffs for $3.99 at Walgreens.