Friday, December 31, 2010

Get To Know Your Fighters - Michael Dufays

For your edification we present to you "Get To Know Your Fighters" where you . . . get to know the fighters . . . from DUEL OF AGES. Because, as we all know, knowledge is power. As is the ability to kick ass.

Michael Dufays
Roles in DUEL OF AGES: Châtaigneraye (Le Coup), Kyokutei (Two Swords), Crazy Ninja Death Squad (One)

How long have you been fighting. Uh . . . the fake kind of fighting?
I started Tae Kwon Do at age 7 and got my black belt at age 11, so it really affected the way I move. When i went to acting school in New York the physicality of the Stage combat class there really appealed to me, and engaged me in such a way that I stuck with it until i became an instructor in 2003. So, I guess about 18 years now?...Crap, dated myself...

What got you interested in Stage Combat?
At my school there was stage combat 2 days a week for 2 hours a pop. Consistent and well organized enough that I really felt the learning building on its self, seeping into me. It gave me confidence that I was acquiring a "usable" skill that I was good at so I just kept at it; not to mention we had three fantastic teachers who had a very entertaining and example based way of teaching. They may have made the difference in my book.

Tell us about a memorable fight moment you've had.
Well I'll tell you a little story: I was performing in a production of R and J, and I had a fight with the guy playing Tybalt. There was a knife kill that was designed very safely , but at one run we were whipping along and the knife attack came and I hit the guy about 5 millimeters above his left eye but just inside the crest of his ocular cavity with the point of a rebated an aluminum dagger... He fainted. When he came, to we went to be with people in separate rooms and talk about the experience and get checked out. I was shaking and in tears fearing that the other actor would never trust me again, I had ruined the show and I was unworthy as a stage fighter etc, etc. And after getting to the root of how scary the event had been I kinda wandered out into the hall for a breather where the other actor had sort of meandered on his own. We sheepishly came together, and I said, "I can't tell you how sorry I feel. That just scared the shit out of me, " and he said, "me too". Then we looked at each other and we kinda just cleared the air in that moment. After that we redoubled our efforts to examine the moves, get the safety technique down, and slowly built the speed and the trust again to the point where we were exhilarated every time we came off the stage. That was not only a memorable fight for me (which i think we only twice performed Perfectly, the rest of the time we had to think on our feet about how to get through the obstacles together - four months of shows BTW) but an important theatre experience - and personal experience: how sharing an open honest heart about an event can let people rise above the worst challenges and repair oneself and a relationship and excel - and be free of it.

Favourite weapon (and why):
Oh, balls... Well, I really enjoy choreographing the needle point articulations of small sword, however I wish I were a knife fighting expert! ...But I seem to always get asked to play with the bashy bashy weapons that need two hands...Excelsior!

Favourite Fight film/play:
There's just too many out there but I truly go back again and again to the movie , "the duelists" for the sense of reality and visceral reaction it evokes, exquisite. In other genres, The big brawl, The Matrix, OngBak, The protector, Killzone, Inception, and others - these movies brought great invention and innovation to the fight performance realm.

Favourite famous fighter:
I would have to say at this point, Donnie Yen as a technician and a fight designer - though I gotta give props to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for his tireless rollercoaster fight on Inception.

Role you wish you could have played:
uh...boooooooooooooooooooooop...sorry, get back to me...

Favourite drink that audience members should buy you after witnessing your awesome in Duel of Ages:
Is Spirulina considered a drink? ...And then a 1,000,000 push ups, I'm so pumped for this show!!

Anything else you'd like to plug:
Stay tuned for upcoming work from Riot ACT, Toronto's premier Action Creation Team!! If you like what you see, share, re-tweet or just stand up and shout! Yeah!!!!

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