Peter Hassall came and trained the heck out of us, and it was a bunch of fun: the trick will be to keep practicing until it’s all there ready to use when we step on stage.
Notes on things to remember:
- This will only work playing on stage with someone else who knows the game!
- Look your partner in the eyes and signal what you’re doing
- Take a step back so your punch or slap can’t connect. Angle your body so the audience can’t tell
- Go for the overly dramatic pull-back of a John Wayne style punch, look where you’re going to hit (or rather, where you would hit, if you weren’t too far away)
- Noise can be made by either victim or attacker slapping a thigh with the away-from the audience hand. This is called the knap.
- For contact moves, never make contact using sharp pointy bits of yourself – ie no elbows or knees. For example, use the flat of your arm to fake stomach blows, the flat of the top of your foot on the inside thigh to fake a kick in the goolies.
- Play the comedy of having the “wrong reaction” to a punch – a big person punched by a little one and being knocked for six, or the opposite, a staunch non-reaction. But usually, try for the “tick” motion of the head in the logical direction that it would have been driven by a real slap or punch. Careful of your neck there.
- For hair pulling, Attacker makes a fist and places it against the Victim’s head. They do not in any way grab any hair. Victim holds the attackers fist against their head, and is the one in control of everything. The exact opposite of what the audience think they are seeing.
- Nose leading-by and ear-pulling are done the same sort of way. Noses and ears are never pulled (gently cupped instead), it is the Victim who is in control and who keeps the Attacker’s hand in contact with them
- Strangling operates on the same principal, but be careful since throats are full of soft squishy bits that are easily damaged. So: attackers hands are below the throat, actually against the solid collarbone. Victim tucks chin down so audience can’t see. Attacker is actually pulling hands away from the Victim: it is the Victim who holds the Attacker’s hands against their throat. There is muscle tension: but the exact opposite of what the audience thinks.
- Since we’ll most often be committing violence with comedy effect, make use of comedy gimmicks like having a slow motion fight sequence
- Consider getting tricky with a predictable (to your partner) sequence of moves – the ol’ one two, or stomach punch/back blow combination.
The falling over moves I’m not going to cover in detail here – they need mats and physical practice, and won’t fit so easily into our Tuesday trainings. But some key things were
- Protect your head (tucking in your head when falling backwards, turning head to side when falling forwards)
- Reduce the height you’re falling from (crouch down before falling down) and
- Spread impact rather than having concentrated on a pointy part of yourself (ie, wrists, knees, tailbone). Roll down your back falling backwards, arms out slightly. Make a 45 degree ‘triangle’ with your arms going forward.