Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More about Falling

It seems like we talk a lot about falling on this blog; but now that I've seen a short news bit on Noises Off at the DCPA, and am also typing on a big wrist bruise, I realize that what Jas always said in martial arts and stage combat classes is true--learning to fall and/or roll properly is the most important aspect of the movement arts you can learn. I believe Tanemura sensei (of the Genbukan) said something similar--I'll research the actual quote and get back to you.

Noises Off has many many pratfalls, and those of you who've had me for class will know and love these well. But one of the pivotal falls in the play is a fall down a flight of stairs. Now this is getting into the fence between stunt and stage combat, in that there's really no way you can do this without getting hurt a little. I was discussing this with the MSCD Club yesterday: the difference between stage combat and a stunt is: usually in stage combat you can do techniques and be relatively safe; at least, you can do things and not get hurt. When doing a stunt, you will get hurt. If you do it well, you won't be crippled or dead afterwards. Falling down a flight of stairs is just going to hurt you, no way around it. Actually, Jas and I were discussing how one could do a fall down the stairs every night for a long theatrical run, and we had some ways to make it safe-er, but not completely safe.

Very recently before this conversation, I actually fell down the Bonzuko home stairs. Yes, the club members did ask me how a ninja could possibly fall down the stairs by accident, ha ha thank you very much. The point is, I fell down a flight of stairs, actually very well--I'm a good faller and roller, so I didn't break or even bash any bones (remember I always say "put your meat down, not your bones" when falling). However, I have a big scrape and bruise on my forearm and a bruised behind. This is from doing it well. How would I do it on wooden stage stairs (mine are carpeted) more than once, say, once every night but Mondays for a couple months? Well...I'd have a lot of bruises, no matter how well I'd do it.

Another post about falling--learn how to do it, learn how to do it well. It's everywhere in theatre, martial arts practice, even in life.
Picture is of Kim practicing a throw, and me falling blurrily. BQC 2008.


Brady Darnell said...

When I was in high school, I had a friend named Conan Knight. Conan was a couple of years older, and a big kid from the Ute Mountain Ute tribe and he had a blue belt in Tae Kwan Do. Sometimes on the weekends he would invite me over to his house to spar -- and by "spar," I mean he knocked me down a lot. A lot.
However, he always made sure to show me how to fall properly so that I would not get hurt. I got pretty good at it.
Soon, I took what I learned and applied it to theatre. (My opening pratfall as Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors" earned gasps from the audience without getting me so much as a skinned knee.)
Years later, I was working one summer as a delivery driver for a construction plumbing supply company, when a poorly-packed truck load led me to be hit square in the chest by a number of copper pipes and sent sprawling backward off the back of the truck (about four feet high) and onto the asphalt and concrete below. Instincts kicked in mid-fall, and I came away with little more than a cut on my elbow.
Somewhere in there is a metaphor for life. Something to the effect of "It's not how you fly that matters, but how you land." Or something like that.


Anonymous said...

I saw Noises Off it is a fantastic show full great stage combate. The fall down the stairs is fun to watch but I don't think that it would be fun to do every night. but beyond that stunt/combate there are a lot of other great falls through out this show.

Jason Braddock - combate class

Bonzuko said...

Brady: um, it's not the fall that kills you? :) ~Jenn

Bonzuko said...

Jason--can you tell how the actor helped himself fall better? ~Jenn