As luck would have it, Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum was available to choreograph the fights in my scene. I've just blogged about it for the 7 Sins website (see below). The link to buy tickets to the HERE performances is above.
Last Wednesday, we got to hear “7 Sins in 60 Minutes” for the first time. Rehearsals are usually my favorite part of the writing process. It’s always exciting to hear your words aloud for the first time. There are always a few “oh, my God, what was I thinking?” moments, when that line that looked so great on paper sounds so bad you want to hide under your chair. But that’s all part of it.
My second rehearsal was on Saturday, and I had an experience that I’d never had before. For my scene (Anger), we had a professional fight choreographer, Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum. This is an unheard of luxury for me! I’ve written plays with punches or slaps or falls in them, but it was always a matter of the actors, and/or the director, and/or me, stumbling through working things out. I’m not sure what to ascribe my fascination with stage violence to. As a teenager, I did take stage combat classes, and one in graduate school. I also spent many hours watching cartoons (Warner Brothers’ “Merrie Melodies,” and “Popeye”) and “The Three Stooges.”
When I’m writing scenes with violence or a lot of physicality in them, I have a tendency to go crazy (in one play I have a character on roller skates while she keeps a hula hoop rotating around her waist; it’s never actually been staged like that), or suck as much violence out of it as possible, so that it’s a pale imitation of what it was originally in my head. I did not do that in this instance, because in the back of my mind, I’d hoped that Jacob would be able to do the fights. He is attuned to the sounds of fighting in a way that I’ve never seen or heard before. If you saw his work in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” or “Sailor Man,” you will know what I mean. Jacob’s sense of humor always informs his work, so his fights are never what you’ve already seen somewhere else.
In rehearsal, I finally got to watch him work his magic. Karen Soars and Michael Rosete didn’t hold back at all, but literally jumped right in with both feet. Breaking fights into pieces is slow, exacting work; even more so than dance choreography, I think. I guess I think of fight sequences as teeny one-acts in themselves: they start one place, end somewhere else, and if they’re good, at the end you’re happily surprised at where they’ve landed. By the end of 90 minutes, Karen and Michael were getting comfortable with putting the pieces together, and it did not take a lot of imagination to visualize what it would look like when it was performed: violent, and funny, and totally specific to “7 Sins” and the characters. I like having a professional around!