I LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow…that is a load off. Even my Cherry Coke (I rewarded myself with a sugary cola) tastes triumphant – shot of caffeine and ego, firing my synapses at the speed of sound.

I just got through the most rigorous three weeks of my life. Three weeks of exercising and fighting all day (sometimes at night as well)……….fighting for 7 – 15 hours a day. Along with the learning and the hours, this course allowed for adjudication by someone from the fight director’s guild. It’s not a guaranteed pass…but if you do pass, you can get certified with proficiency in unarmed combat and single sword rapier (the two “weapons” being taught in class).

The test involves two scenes, one with a fist fight – another with a sword fight. My partner was my younger brother, Nick, who was also taking the class.

First of all, we leaned on our strengths. We’re good presenters and used to working crowds together. I think a lot of the class noticed this and even told us we have good “chemistry” (years of built up brotherly telepathy). We also have good storytelling instincts and chose some good scenes (there was a pool of “samples” but we wanted our own).

For scenes, you’re allowed to choose anything that involves two characters in conflict. The characters don’t need to fight (the fight doesn’t even need to make sense with the rest of the story) they just need to be in some sort of verbal conflict…and you work the words into the standard, choreographed fights (with some tweaks and customizations).

The dialogue is very short (the fight goes quickly) so Nick and I decided on well established characters. That way, they would have all sorts of emotional subtext for the audiences, before we even started, and we could milk some fun reactions.

So…a little sliver of dialogue from The Odd Couple, an argument about throwing a cup, turned into an unarmed battle royal between Felix and Oscar (I got to be Oscar). An argument between Cyrano and Christian…turns into a tragic sword fight where Cyrano (me) not so purposefully kills his friend (the girls in the class said they felt like crying).

Some of our sword technique was a bit shaky…but we passed both and now are certified with proficiency in Unarmed and Single-Sword Rapier stage combat.

We both ordered stage combat ready rapiers from a guy in Lincoln Park (he’s a friend of our instructor). So we can keep practicing over the summer (what will the neighbor’s think when they look out their window into the backyards???

I’m back in Northern IL…..yay!

There’s more to type…but I’m going to rest these battered, tired bones…