SBS Arts Fellows Zac Decker ‘21 and Becky Gray ‘22
Upper school theatre students prepare for their upcoming musical, Disney’s Newsies by inviting fight directors to train them in theatrical combat.
Basking in stage lights, experiencing a new identity, soaking in the applause, it’s no wonder students find theatre so exciting. With all the excitement of a theatre production, especially during a time of so little live entertainment, the SBS cast of Disney’s Newsies excitedly greets any opportunity to perform for an audience and share the activity they so deeply enjoy.
One particularly difficult aspect of such a demanding show is an ambitious fight scene with nearly the entire cast simultaneously engaged in on-stage combat. In order to pull off such a feat, two professionals from the University of Houston visited Second Baptist School to advise theatre students on how to execute a believable and exciting performance, free from any danger of stray punches or misguided blows.
With the SBS theatre department’s dedication to excellence, it’s no wonder professional stage fighting choreographers were called in to teach the upper school performers how to take their show to the next level. Junior Grace Lunsford emphasizes this goal saying, “I am thankful for the opportunity to make our fight scenes appear more realistic and to learn new techniques!” With proper fighting stances, defenses and striking positions, student actors and actresses now carry all the tools needed to execute an impressively complex combat scene on stage.
Not only did the students master new techniques, but they also enjoyed every minute of it! For example, senior Francesca Garvin was excited for “the opportunity to do something that created a lot of fun memories with the cast,” and expressed her gratitude for an educational yet enjoyable experience. Joy was apparent even through smiles hidden under face-coverings, and everyone sensed the elated spirits of a group content to simply be in each other’s presence.
Did the students of SBS take to the fighting directors’ mentorship while having such fun? You’ll have to see the upper school musical on February 26, 27 or 28 at HBU’s Dunham Theater to find out. But don’t ask the actors how the fighting’s done, for what happens in fight class stays in fight class!