Month: May 2015

Random Movement Pic

I got this delightful image from a former student (and traceur extraordinaire) Noah’s Facebook page. Please to enjoy.

  

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IPA Review 6-9

IPA #6: Bridgeport Trilogy 2: Aussie Salute

Date consumed: 12/17/14

  • sweeter than I normally like, but there’s enough hops to make it palatable
  • 5.8% ABV
  • in a bottle (12oz)
  • not very carbonated, which adds to the sweet taste

IPA #7: Odell’s Runoff Redodell-brewing-co-runoff-red-ipa-beer-colorado-usa-10679288

Date consumed: 12/19/14

  • very citrusy!
  • eXXtreem grapefruit
  • not overly bitter, just bitter enough
  • very bubbly, snappy
  • 6.5% ABV
  • 12oz bottle

IPA #8: Stone IPA

Date consumed: 12/20/14

  • on draft at West End Tavern, Boulder
  • Somewhat crisp & hoppy, with an underlying sweetness
  • richer tasting than most
  • 6%(?) ABV

IPA #9: Stone Double IPA

Date consumed: 12/20/14

  • served in a tall snifter, not a pint glass
  • 9.2% ABV
  • very rich and sweet, with a small hop afterbite
  • a slow sipper

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5 Reasons Magnussen is More Evil Than Moriarty

Sherlocks Home

Written by Prof. Jenn

Information is the centre of Sherlock’s work, and when an agent of chaos like Moriarty throws a wrench in that well-oiled machine, it’s only a matter of time before the “grit in [the] sensitive instrument” gets cleared out. But what if Sherlock’s adversary isn’t a brash chaotic goon for the sake of anarchy, but the brilliant head of a well-oiled machine himself? Such is Magnussen, adapted from the Charles Augustus Milverton of the so-titled original story. Like Moriarty, Magnussen (Milverton) only appears in one short story in the Doyle canon but Mofftiss have decided to expand this villain into more than just a one-off obstacle, and give him a hefty story arc in his own right.

Here are five reasons why I deem Magnussen as the more dangerous, more evil villain over Moriarty. Big words, I know, but hear me out…

5. No Remorse, No Glee

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5 Conan Doyle Characters Sherlock Should Introduce Next

My latest two cents’ worth on Sherlock’s Home. What do you think, lovely lurkers?

Sherlocks Home

Written by Prof. Jenn

Sherlock has portrayed many characters from the original Doyle canon very well so far: staying faithful to the spirit of the character while including modern-day twists of their own. Beyond Sherlock and John themselves, we’ve gotten to know Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, Moriarty, Magnussen, Mycroft, Irene Adler, and Mary Morstan-Watson more and more (plus how many little character nods have we gotten besides these biggies, from James Phillimore to Mr. Windibank to Bill Wiggins just recently in His Last Vow?). Here are five (okay, I cheated and there are a couple more connected characters I had to include too) more characters Mofftiss should include in the next series and beyond. This is but my own professional opinion, so if you have more ideas please include them in the comments.

  1. Reginald Musgrave/ Victor Trevor

Granada Granada

Now, we have already had an old school chum of Sherlock’s in city…

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MiniInterview: Geoff Kent

More MiniInterviews recycled from the blog that was, lovely lurkers. This is my piece on Geoff Kent. he has just directed a play called She Kills Monsters (that I’m so pissed I didn’t get to my audition for) that’s playing now. This interview was from…um…a few years ago…

—————————————————————————————

5 questions: GEOFFREY KENT                Interviewer: Jenn Zuko 

1.) What made you get into the stage combat world in the first place? What theatrical endeavors pointed you to the SAFD and what made you work your way up the rungs to Presidency?

After college I was cast as Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part One and “survived” the fights. I felt uncomfortable and fearful and it affected my performance in those scenes so I sought out local training. If I wanted to be a classical actor it seemed obvious that swordplay was going to be a part of it.

I took several classes locally and completed a few Society of American Fight Directors Skills Proficiency Tests. This is a codified 30 hour course on different weapon styles. At the time there were six: Rapier & Dagger, Broadsword, Smallsword, Sword & Shield, Quarterstaff and Unarmed.

After collecting those I attended a regional workshop in Chicago where I was encouraged to attend the national SAFD Advanced Actor/Combatant Workshop in Vegas. That was the game changer. It helped me to finally connect playable actions and objectives to the physical world of fighting. Story was tantamount, “fancy moves” got in the way.

The local SAFD teacher moved away in 1997 and then the work started coming to me, quite by accident. Eventually it took over and stage combat now provides me with a means to support myself as a teacher and choreographer. It also opened acting and directing doors to me I would not have had otherwise. My acting work at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Denver Center Theatre Company would not have happened without those skills.

As for the route to President? I served on the SAFD Governing Body as the Actor/Combatant representative and, after

Geoff and I performing at my first appearance at the CO RenFaire. 1996.

Geoff and I performing at my first appearance at the CO RenFaire. 1996.

becoming one, the Certified Teacher representative. SAFD President that just somehow happened, not sure anyone else wanted it. ☺ It is a LOT of email as the head of the board of directors, we are also the volunteer employees. It was a pleasure to serve and start to move the SAFD from a club model to a business model. Not an easy transition. Currently I am now the SAFD Fight Director representative as I attempt to collect every seat.

2.) Do you enjoy fight direction, or performing more? What roles/choreography stand out to you in your career?

I love the attention to detail, safety and acting beats that fight direction affords. It is helping me grow into my director pants. ☺ But I still love acting and performing physical action. It is where I feel most comfortable as an actor and where I do my best work. I imagine there may come a day when my knees, back, neck, etc. won’t want me to sling steel. Until then I am still a glutton for fight roles. I’m looking at you Warwick!

Choreography that stands out? Hrm. I loved the challenge of developing Three Musketeers for CSF.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDzzX9WWARQ

The final product couldn’t contain all the ideas I had but it was fun to develop the first fight and play with pre-sketched character rules.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jseP00TiVt4

In Richard III at the DCTC we killed 17 people. Loved coming up with ways to do that. Made me get inventive.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sit7BEsn6as

For favorite acting it would have to be Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve played him twice, most recently at CSF. He is comfortable to walk around in, I share his sentiment, both for and against marriage, and I love peeling away his layers.

This summer I am playing Mercutio. A role I have long pursued, finally have… and am terrified of. Should be interesting.

3.) What’s your favorite theatrical weapon and why?

My favorite is more of a style than a weapon. In early 2000 the SAFD introduced “Single Sword” as a testable weapon. Originally intended as a weapon easier to learn than the complexities of Rapier & Dagger, it has morphed into a repository of classic moves from Hollywood Swashbucklers. We teach it with lightweight epee’s primarily but in reality it works with broadsword, quarterstaff, anything. Errol Flynn did it with anything handed to him.

I love it because it was developed by Hollywood. Most weapon styles have their roots in specific history (Broadsword, Smallsword, etc). “Swashbuckling” was really developed by Cinema. They added things that just look good and they created room for acting beats independent of the logic of martial blade play. O, and It can be ridiculously funny.

Danny Kaye in “The Court Jester”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3oURsGzs9o

And for personal mockery, my single sword test from my teacher training workshop.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ooxZ8B0vZ8

4.) I have heard that in the upper ranks of the SAFD they ask that the actor/combatants learn a martial art. You chose Aikido—what about it in particular jived along with your experience in stage combat?

The SAFD doesn’t have an official stance on martial arts. I know great martial artists that are great stage combat teachers… and bad stage combat teachers. I know stage combat teachers with no martial arts training that are awesome… and some that really need training in a martial discipline. It is all subjective really.

For me, I studied a little boxing and then Gracie ju-jitsu to get started. Loved both but neither suited me. I can’t really spar and work as an actor. Can’t roll into a show limping or visibly bruised, ya know? I stumbled upon Boulder Aikikai by accident through SAFD Fight Master Chuck Coyl. His words, “What are you an idiot? Go take classes there.”

It suited me. Classes are very quiet, no “Ki-yaaa!” which always feels ridiculous to me. It is a self-focused journey and non-competitive. It also has a “lifetime to master” attitude and all the veteran students and teachers also regularly take the basic classes. There are no visible belts and the like, everyone is equal. I love the pursuit of a silent slow-mo forward roll. I love the balance.

And it is fun to flip people. ☺

5.) Any interesting horror stories? Joyous success stories?

Too many to list. I’m about to sink my teeth into Tracy Letts’ newest play, “Superior Donuts” at DCTC. It is an epic battle between a 50 year old criminal and a 60 year old hippie. It is of obscene length and is designed to overstay its welcome. The audience wants him to just stay down. Like Cool Hand Luke, but with older actors.

And ours is the first production in the round. I’m expecting a little bit of column a, little bit of column b on that one.

Book Review

This was posted a while ago, lovely lurkers, but I just now am getting around to linking to it. As usual, find an excerpt below and the rest at Nerds in Babeland.   ~Jenn

A Tale of Sand is a screenplay written by the late great Jim Henson, which never saw the light of movie day. It was written back in 1974, the heyday of Henson’s immense creative output, and one can very much experience said creativity by reading A Tale of Sand. To have this surreal screenplay illustrated sketchbook style by an artist such as Perez only enhances the experience–I opine that this is better as a sketchbook-cum-comic than it would have been as a 1970s film.

Poems

POEMS by Jenn Zukowski and Jack Collom, April 2001

1

Q: One lump or two? 

A: Just one big one’ll about cover it.

Q: Who’s the boss?

A: That guy with the ears.

Q: Or is he?

A: Well, he just flapped outa here. Now what?

Q: Yeah, now what?

A: Okay, okay, um… why don’t we get the committee on that?

Q: Did that count as a question?

A: Just as sure as it rains little tin goslings.

Q: Okay. Let’s get serious. Where are we?

A: With the pelicans, of course. An interplanetary time vortex. But the real question is,

Q: How do we get out of here? 

A: Play like a dead fish and let Pelican Transport take over — we’ll all get lumped in together.
2

Try to be kind to me, dear, or I’ll shoot you with my cold .41–

Whoa, man, can you stop for a minute? If you shoot me my life is done.

Oh shit, but a new song starts in three minutes.
Too bad, Dude Ranch, you knew the job was dangerous.

(Rumble rumble) … I’m trying to start my Rolls Royce SUV.

Aw crap, not you too! Here, let me get out the

Crank: (rrrrrr… phut phut…) Whoosh! Hey, what’s that big bump in the road,

Kilimanjaro? Holy Hornets! It can’t be! Turn left, no, right, no…

(Smasssh crash tinkle) — This is no time or place for a tinkle. Now look what you’ve done…

IPA Review 3-5

IPA #3: Samuel Smith’s English IPA

Date consumed: 12/14/14

  • 5% ABV
  • comes in a bomber only
  • deep taste of grain/sweetness
  • smooth, no crispness or citrus

IPA #4: Avery  (on draft at Bogey’s pub)

Date consumed: 12/15/14

  • crisp and hoppy, bitter
  • carbonation bites the tongue
  • refreshing–more refreshing on tap than bottled/canned, as I recall

IPA #5: Ranger ranger-ipa

Date consumed: 12/16/14

  • in a can: very crisp, bitter
  • by New Belgium brewery
  • not much citrus, more hops than anything else
  • very fizzy but doesn’t bite
  • refreshing when very cold–when it warms up to room temp, the bitterness becomes unpleasant

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The Art of Stillness 

in Stage Movement class at Metro, one of the big things we work on are tableaux. This term refers to an artistic still stage picture. When we work with our corsets and comedy of manners, tableaux are an essential part of the  effective composition of the scenes. Now that the students are working on their final Dr. Seuss performances, tableaux are becoming that much more important again.

Why would stillness be such an important part of the curriculum of a movement class? The same reason why learning punctuation is an essential part of a writing class. Actually, literally the same reason: an audience needs the pauses, the stillnesses, in order to follow the action itself. This is something we learn in stage combat classes too: it’s much easier for an audience to follow a movement sequence when there are stillnesses strategically placed. The key with a tableau is that it’s a dynamic stillness: it’s based on visual art and so is just as stimulating to the eye as the movement. And in their Seussian pieces, their tableaux are literally based on one of the illustrations from the original picture book. The students chose which picture they thought was most pivotal and recreated it onstage. Below is the one that turned out best, IMO. See the resemblance?

  

This particular stillness tells you a lot about this story, and takes place at a tense, pivotal moment in the plot. What better way than a tableau to ramp up the tension?