Backstage Pass: Fighting Lessons

When I learned that I would be sword fighting in "Hamlet," I was a little concerned. I was very inexperienced with any sort of combat. Sure, I had learned how to fall and how to punch, but never how to fight. 

We started off pretty slowly, just getting used to holding the sword and where to actually move it when attacking. We built up our battles little by little, starting just with where the sword went, then adding in footwork and acting. 

The biggest lesson for me in this process was in trust. You have to learn to trust your partner to not actually hurt you and to defend against your attack.Trusting other people is actually one of the things I struggle with, so Falcon Theatre has been great therapy for me, forcing myself to trust the people around me. One woman can’t carry a show. 

Once Lina Pliodzinskas '20, who plays Hamlet, and I became more comfortable with the choreography and the sword fighting technique, we could actually start communicating when we would attack without speaking. You really have to be very aware of your partner, because if they’re not ready, you can put them in danger. Part of this awareness comes from good communication in rehearsal, part from the rhythm of the fight and part from being able to read each other’s body language. 

Overall, I would say that "Hamlet" has perhaps been my most difficult play yet. I am a novice to the language of Shakespeare, so the script itself was difficult for me. I’ve never played such a complicated or conflicted character as Laertes before. But, I do know is that we have a great cast, a great director and great tech teams.

So, while I know I still have some work to do, I am excited for what the future of this play will hold. 

— Emily Quin Class ‘22