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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

October 27, 2011

The Daily Vampire: Stage Combat

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 9:17 am

Dracula is a very physical show. Vampires and their minions do seem to like to slap folks around. There are actually 11 different fights or confrontations in this production, all of which have been carefully staged and choreographed by Resident Actor Derek T. Pickens.

“My first real experience with stage combat was back in 2008 while working at Theatre West Virginia,” said Pickens. “I was an actor in a few of their shows and in one of them I had a combat scene, but I was only taught the fight choreography for that specific fight and nothing more. It wasn’t until my first quarter of grad school at the Savannah College of Art and Design that I took a class in stage and film combat. My instructor, Martin Noyes, taught us the ins and outs of many styles of combat including hand-to-hand, rapier, and dagger.”

“When it came to choreographing the fights for Dracula, I was relieved to find that most of the combat were simple slaps and throws, which I’m very comfortable staging. There were also a few fight sequences that involved a bit more, and for those I spoke through the fight with our Director, Julian Wiles, and created what he thought should be in the fight, while also adding a few cool moves I had learned at SCAD. The process was extremely smooth, which I was grateful for as this was the first show I had ever been fight choreographer for.”


Charleston Stage Resident Actor Jillian Kuhl as Margaret Sullivan and Garrett Flood as Norbert Briggs in Charleston Stage's DRACULA.


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