Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Get To Know Your Fighters - Adrienne Kress

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.

Adrienne Kress
Roles in DUEL OF AGES: Lady (La Maupin), Ellie Powers (Egos and Idols)

How long have you been fighting. Uh . . . the fake kind of fighting?
The amazing Casey Hudecki introduced me to Stage Combat back when we met in Drama School. So that would make it just over ten years on and off. Wow. Dude. Wow.

What got you interested in Stage Combat?
It's fun. And really how often do you get to play with weapons in real life? Okay, I guess more often for some than others. Let's just say that in my particular life, it is a most rare occurrence indeed.

Tell us about a memorable fight moment you've had.
Well there was this production of MACBETH I was in where everyone at the end of the play was either part of Malcolm's army, or Macbeth's. I was one of Macbeth's stooges waiting backstage to come charging on, watching from the wings as Malcolm's army came down through the audience and leaped onto the stage. I couldn't see the edge of the stage from my vantage point, but suddenly there was a massive eruption of laughter from the audience. "What, what's going on??" My cast mate who was laughing hysterically too whispered, "Todd lost his kilt." "WHAT??"

Yes. The actor playing Macduff (and our beloved producer/creator of DUEL OF AGES) had indeed lost his kilt upon jumping onto the stage. Fortunately he wasn't wearing it the, shall we say, historically accurate way, so he didn't moon the audience or anything. Still, there he was, standing on stage in his underwear, as Malcolm gives his final pep talk and we, from backstage, come running on to charge their army and battle it out (I, with my particularly formidable weapon of a mace made of Nerf). Of course we Macbeth stooges backstage were so determined to keep the show going no matter what that our charge was possibly slightly overly-enthusiastic with us screaming in an almost manic fashion. But we fought through it, literally, and when Macduff returned to stage fully clothed, he managed to win over the audience so completely that his was the largest applause of the night.

Oh. Did I mention that the audience we were performing in front of were teenagers? Yeah. Adds an extra something special doesn't it?

Needless to say Todd was nicknamed "MacBUFF" for the rest of the run of the show.

Favourite weapon (and why):
The power of my mind. And small sword. It's elegant and deadly. Just like me. Uh . . . yeah . . .

Favourite Fight film/play:
There are a lot of stunning shows out there that highlight fighting, but I have to choose THE PRINCESS BRIDE as my personal favourite. The first fight between the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya is just plain wonderfully choreographed and executed, but it's the last fight between Inigo and the Six Fingered Man that I adore the most. There isn't even that much fighting in it. It's more a brilliant moment of a character and story arc coming to fruition in such a completely satisfying manner. That last sequence with Inigo getting stabbed twice, managing to overcome it, intimidating the Six Fingered Man with "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die!" over and over and over again, the comedy of "STOP SAYING THAT", the music buttoning his every slash, and the final wonderful mirrored payback . . . it's all so perfect.

And then, of course, comes the final dialogue exchange:

Inigo Montoya: Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father: prepare to die. Now, offer me money.
[slices Count Rugen's cheek]
Count Rugen: Yes.
Inigo Montoya: Power too. Promise me that.
[slices Count Rugen's other cheek]
Count Rugen: All that I have and more. Please...
Inigo Montoya: Offer me everything I ask for.
Count Rugen: Anything you want.
Inigo Montoya: I want my father back, you son of bitch.
[stabs and kills Count Rugan]

Here's a lovely little featurette about the swordfighting in that film with interviews from the cast etc:

Favourite famous fighter:
Michelle Yeoh. I just love her. Her fighting is amazing, but she's also a stunning actress (and it's always fun to see her in a non-fighting movie, ie: SUNSHINE). What I love about the way she fights is that I believe she is capable of doing everything she does. So many films these days have female fighters. In fact, these days, the token "woman who kicks ass and can never be defeated" has become even more common than the "damsel in distress". So you get a bunch a tiny Hollywood actresses performing moves against massive beefy guys that you just know would never fell them in real life. Now Yeoh isn't exactly big herself, but she has this inner strength that comes pouring out of her, and mad mad fight skills, that makes her truly believable as a deadly weapon. She fights with elegance and is unrelenting. Love her.

Role you wish you could have played:
It might be obvious from the way I waxed poetic about it above, but man, Inigo Montoya would have been sweet. I'd also love to play Cyrano someday. Yes. I realise how that's never going to happen. Le sigh.

Favourite drink that audience members should buy you after witnessing your awesome in Duel of Ages:
Scotch. Others before me have suggested Oban. I am perfectly amenable to that suggestion.

Anything else you'd like to plug:
Well I wouldn't be any kind of author (uh, yeah, I'm also an author) if I didn't plug my two children's novels (available in bookstores and online): ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN, TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON'S GATE (Scholastic). And my website

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