Monday, 28 November 2011

Fight on!

Spent an instructive afternoon with Fabian from Bladesharp (we're near neighbours) working through the Malfi fights.  Strictly speaking very few of them are fights, but there are plentiful moments when daggers get drawn and people die horribly and it must all be worked out in advance.  Luckily, he is trained in this kind of thing and offered to help out.

For anyone unfamiliar with Webster's epic, it features a short fist-fight (that originally came out as fish-fight - shades of Monty Python), a strangulation, several rather brutal stabbings and a magnificent four way pile up at the end of the play which leaves all the protagonists dead.

Therefore, we cleared the front room of furniture and got to work with the stupid plastic daggers I bought last week.  Fabes looked a bit sick.  "Nobody will parry with these," he announced sternly.  "I'll paint them," I whined pathetically.  At his suggestion I chopped off the side bits and they look a bit better.
If only our daggers looked like this.  Alas, they do not.  Not yet anyway, but it's amazing what you can do with acrylic when you put your mind to it.
 It was brought home to me in short order that I would be utter rubbish in a fight.  I fall over a lot and I've got no idea at all what to do with a blade.  Even a plastic one.  We started off with me being the other end of the fights and finally resorted to cushions as the bodies piled up.  "The red one is the cardinal and the blue cross-stitch is the page." 

The most difficult bit was trying to work out how long Bosola and the page need to prance around each other while some other characters in a completely different place burble on about how they're not going to take any notice of the Cardinal's calls for help.  Page and Bosola have what seems like aeons to threaten, feint and otherwise not kill each other before Bosola gets bored and deals the death blow.

Once the page is out of the way, Bosola heads for the Cardinal and stabbitys him with utter contempt a couple of times.  He is interrupted by Ferdinand.  At this stage of the play, Ferdy has lost what little balance he ever had and is convinced that

(a) he is a werewolf, and
(b) he is on some random battlefield and his brother (the Cardinal) is his deadly enemy.

Leaping wildly across the room he kills his brother and almost accidentally drives a knife into Bosola's guts on the way.

We'll see if the plan survives contact with the cast, but I think it will.  They'll all be much better than me.

What is really satisfying though is that the combats all add to the characters rather than being stylistic add-ons.  I like this.


  1. Well, to be fair to you, I wasn't going to have anyone parrying anyway. :D

  2. Just as well. If I tried to parry I'd have my own eyes out.

  3. I'm a weed, so if we were doing the fight for real, you would have stabbed me in the gut several times.