“We Weh Wa” is what students shouted as they engaged at the National Players combat acting workshop held in Vincennes University Red Skelton Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, March 20.
At this event students got to learn a series of different techniques used when fighting on stage. The workshop was taught by two National Player actresses, Kelsey Godfry and Emily Brown.
Combat acting is very hands on even though students did not use any props. During the event students were organized in a circle and played games that forced them to pay attention to other people’s actions and less of their own. Cutting the cords is just one of the many ways to create realistic fighting movements while on stage.
Jessi Mansfield, one of the participants, said her goal isn’t to apply what she’s learned to an actual on stage fight, but to run through the exercises because it’s muscle memory.
Watching students perform what seems to be a real action packed fight, it’s obvious that combat acting is a real workout.
During the workshop, leaders Brown and Godfry expressed how uncomfortable some women may feel during combat.
One important piece of advice that was shared with performers was if at any point they feel unsafe during a scene, they shouldn’t be afraid to stop and take a break or let their partner know how they’re feeling.
This workshop was an eye opener for many theatre majors that did attend.
Mansfield doesn’t feel the need to play a big role.
“Being that little part on stage is what I like, I never wanted to be a lead,” she said.
Many actors and actresses just starting out may not understand how intense a fighting scene can be, but like many other aspects in the acting industry it takes hard work and dedication. The National Players touring company travels all across the U.S.
For more information on seeing them perform or to learn about upcoming workshops, visit their website at https://www.nationalplayers.org/contact.