Albion Alums Perform at Dickens Christmas Fair!

Hi All,  in the last couple months we have produced another great comedy / swordfight show with the scholars of Albion!  “All’s Well That Ends Badly” is currently running on the Victoria & Albert Stage at the great Dickens Christmas Fair in the Cow Palace in San Francisco.  There is still time to catch the show as we run Saturdays and Sundays til just before Christmas.  Our show times are 11:15 & 4:00.

The show is probably the best witty writing I have done in the 8 Albion shows we have all produced in the last 20 years!  Think of it as “Noises Off!” for Shakespearean actors…  The concept is a rehearsal of a Christmas charity performance involving all the leading Shakespearean actors of Victorian London.  As it’s a rehearsal, the audience gets to see all the egos in full force, and what they really think of one another.  🙂

Here are some shots of the production.  It is really a lot of fun, especially if you know anything about Shakespeare…  Then you’ll get all the inside jokes…AWEB Beatrix AWEB Brutus AWEB Painting AWEB Swordfight

Albion Alumni Perform at Nor Cal Renaissance Faire!

Manly Pamphlet

Manly Men in TIghts is back at the Nor Cal Ren Fest!    Maurice Browder and Marc Hines Larrenaga, two of the best swordsmen ever to come through Albion, are performing with me in this monument to silly entertainment!  We appear on the Main Stage at 12:00. 2:00. and 3:45.  Come check out the new show!  Now, 25% more Manly!

Check out the Faire at:

http://www.norcalrenfaire.com/

Catching up on a Year of posting!

Hello All!

Meastro Cawelti here…  It’s been a long time, with little posting, but life has been busy!  To catch you up on Albion activities; the sword troupe has performed at the Northern California Pirate Festival (2013) in a new show called “The Hunt for Blackbeard’s Treasure”.  This is a half hour show with a lot of sword fights and a lot of pirates.  We are in pre-production right now for the 2014 version.  If you are near Vallejo, CA on Father’s Day weekend, drop by and see us on the main stage!  I am the Black Powder Safety Coordinator for the Festival, and the Festival presents a ship to shore cannon battle twice daily.  Nothing’s been blown up that wasn’t meant to…  Now that’s a good show!  Laughing

Last Summer I traveled to L.A. to  portray Theodore Roosevelt for the Old Fort MacArthur Days, in San Pedro, CA; which is a huge Military Living History encampment.  I’ve been asked back again this year to deliver the Keynote speech, and charge up San Juan Hill.  As an actor, I have traveled the country portraying T.R. and I also starred in the History Channel’s “The Spanish American War: First Intervention” as Col. Roosevelt.  (It’s available to see on Netflix)  Smile

Last Fall was another season at the Northern California Renaissance Festival where we performed:  “Manly Men in TIghts!”  the rollicking farce of swashbuckling and sex appeal – now in it’s 15th season.  Such a fun show.  Each year we improve the script and add things to keep it fresh.  We have estimated that over 400,00 people have laughed their butts off watching this show since it’s inception in 1991.

Last November saw the Albion performance troupe mount a new production for the Dicken’s Christmas Fair:  “All’s Well that Ends Badly”.  A “Noises Off” style comedy with Dramatic Shakespearean conflicts, and swordf ights (and that was just off-stage!).  It was a big hit!  And we shall be back again creating theatrical mayhem this November/December!

Recently, Provost of the Schoole, John Woodruff and I dressed up and performed choreographed fights for the Opening Night Gala for “Game of Thrones”.  There were 2,000 people at the party, mostly dressed up, and it was a blast.  It was also a bit odd… we would clear a space, and start to fight, and then 300 cell phones would come out and film us…  funny that…. Smile

We have had so many “hits” and subscriptions to our U-Tube videos of “Sword Points”,  it is truly flattering.  Thank you all for watching, and Gerard and I promise that a new set are in preparation and soon to be videoed.

That’s it for now.  More news with sword in hand, as it happens!  Cheers!

Michael

Sword Points #4 – Distance – Stage Combat Sword Fighting Instruction

This Sword Points video addresses the 3 distances of swordfighting:

  • Fighting Distance,
  • On Guard Distance
  • Trash Talk Distance.

If swords are out and you are close enough to hit your assailant, you are in Fighting Distance, and if you are not engaged in swordplay, there had better be a really compelling theatrical reason why you are not swinging steel.

If each combatant takes a step back, this is On Guard Distance.  It’s called On Guard Distance because if you are this close to an assailant and swords are out, then you better be “on your guard” – prepared to defend, because you are one quick lunge away from being hit.

If the swordsmen take one more step back, this is Trash Talk Distance.  At this distance, the characters can have swords out and insult each other to their heart’s content.  They are too far to need to be in a “ready” on guard position, and the physicality can be loose and flamboyant.  A mistake made in many theater productions when adversaries, with swords out, are blocked to be in each other’s face during pre-fight dialog.  Once swords are out, the 3 distances of swordfighting come into play.  Keeping the action consistent with the logic of the 3 distances gives your sword choreography verisimilitude and allows it appear more realistic to your audiences.

Sword Points #3 – Footwork – Stage Combat Sword Fighting Instruction

Here is a Sword Point video on maintaining the power of the legs during footwork. The basic cross step in 16th/17thC. rapier play is called the “Pasada”. While moving in pasada during an engagement the swordsman must maintain a position of power in their stance allowing them to move quickly and decisively. As soon as the swordsman engages his adversary (or acting partner), the legs should be coiled, meaning the swordsman should be in a crouch. This is the same position that gives power and quickness to a linebacker in football, a shortstop in baseball, or a tennis player. If the combatant comes out of his crouch at any time while in fighting distance, they are vulnerable to a counterattack, for they are not ready to move quickly either in offense or defense. Keeping a crouch in the stance while moving in pasada requires the fighter to “float” their upper body along the line of movement. If the shoulders bob up and down then the swordsman is not maintaining the power in the legs. The image is of a cat moving forward, ready to spring on its prey.

Sword Points #1: The Grip

Here is the first in our series of “2 Minute” sword instruction videos which we call – “Sword Points.” This installment shows the proper hand positions when holding the classic cut & thrust sword: the rapier.  It also covers one of the most over-looked and critical techniques for creating the look of realistic sword wielding:  The “Power Angle”.  Enjoy!

The Bloggings Will Continue Until Moral Improves!

For my first swordplay blog for the new Albion Schoole website, I wanted to welcome all  those lovers of all things swordplay!  This blog is here to pass on detailed information and unique insights on swords and swordplay.  We have planned video demos and instruction I have called “Sword Points”, which are designed to share expertise from my 32 years as a professional Fight Director.  Enjoy the site, and remember, “Any day with sword in hand, is a great day!”