This morning I did a Q&A as part of a stage combat seminar for drama students with a group called Broadway Classroom. One of the students asked me what my craziest stage combat experience has been. We all started laughing because I turned 10 shades of red. This is the story that followed…
It was the Summer/Fall of 2006 and I had been cast as Bernardo in West Side Story at Portland Centre Stage. Our director took a much more realistic and darker approach to the piece, especially when it came to the rumble. To this day it is still one of the best stage combat scenes I have done. Violent, thrilling to watch and very passionate. I should also say that it was so well rehearsed that the fight choreography was never anything but 100% safe.
Seconds before I get fatally stabbed in the show I did exactly what an actor is NOT supposed to do and change my body position after a prep. I felt the knife that Tony was using slash across my left wrist, but I just continued with the choreography. The second act ends with Bernardo and Riff left dead onstage, and right before I hit the floor I looked at my wrist and saw an awful lot of blood everywhere. This was not good. Rather than staying dead on the floor, I crawled off stage. My stage managers saw what had happened and immediately called the ambulance. There was panic everywhere and my anxiety level hit the roof. Minutes passed and not one but TWO ambulances show up. Stage and company management were surrounding me and my Anita - the beautiful Ivette Sosa, was holding me as I was hyper ventilating. My arm wrapped in about 3 towels and raised in the air. The EMT came up, calmed me down and said "On the count of 3 I will be removing the towels. You may not want to look… it could be very ugly." I bravely said "No, I can do it." He told me to breathe, we both counted to 3 and the towels came off. What was reveled was a tiny little gash - maybe 1/2 an inch - with the tiniest little trickle of blood coming out. We both looked at each other and started to crack up. To be fair (and regain just a little bit of my dignity), it did leave my left hand incapacitated for about a week… but C'mon!!!!
Drama INDEED!!! I wish a tele-novella producer had been watching. I would be a hit.
This picture should drive the point home. Please tell me you have some embarassing stage combat stories. Share them below - let's all have a good laugh!!
I'm a huge fan of the popular TED talks. If you are not familiar with it, do yourself a favor and put aside a good chunk of time to check out TED.com where you will find "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world." on just about any subject imaginable.
Last week I attended an inspiring industry conference called TEDxBroadway. Leaders from all different kinds of industries (and not necessarily the entertainment industry) came together to answer the question "What's the BEST that Broadway can be 20 years from now?" It was a day full of ideas, inspiration and brand new points of view that could very well take our industry to the forefront. Very exciting stuff. For an incredible summary I highly recommend Howard Shermans live blog HERE.
You can also catch my live tweet of the event HERE (just scroll to the event tweets on January 23).
My takeaway from TedxBroadway:
- -Live HUMAN experiences will surge us forward.
- -Ultimately, people want to connect and be changed by the human, person to person experience around us that only LIVE events can provide.
- -As industry leaders, WE can decide what our future will be.
Where do you see our industry headed these next 20 years?
Armed with a camera, Playbill.com asked me to snap pics of everything I do from the moment I get up to the moment I come home on a 2 show day. OK so maybe I didn't catch EVERYTHING, but my cast stepped up and hammed it up for the camera. Check out my PHOTO EXCLUSIVE for Playbill.com (including a pic of my dog Viva in a nun's habit) HERE!