Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Combat At Knox World's Fair Park

Photographs by Virginia Beld
A horde of fighters swinging swords and howling commandos locked in combat are headed to the Amphitheater at the Knoxville World's Fair Park!

And you are invited to witness it all.

The Wild Thyme Players will present the 2nd Annual "Duels and Desserts" on Friday Sept. 14th at 7 pm for an evening of intense entertainment everyone can enjoy.

Stage combat scenes, an original one-act play, a silent auction and a baked goods sale will make for a heck of a great time at this fundraising event. The actors will perform vignettes using various fighting styles and weapons, including broadsword, rapier & dagger, quarterstaff, epee, knife and unarmed stage combat. The second half will present a swashbuckling original short play based on “The Three Musketeers” written by WTP fight choreographer Mark McGinley. I asked Mark to explain just what these combat scenes are like:

"We have a rather large cast. There are 21 of us playing a variety of roles. Our youngest cast member is Lexi Trigg, who is 11 years old. She's very excited about getting to do a sword fight with her father, Steve. One of our seniors, Jeanette Stevens, will be appearing in two fights that she wrote herself. 

"We've been in rehearsals since mid July. It takes a lot of time to put together a show with this much combat in it. 

"Stage combat is the art of simulating a fight for the purpose of telling a story. It's a matter of working safely with a partner to create the illusion of violence. Yes, stage combat has a lot to do with the martial arts. Good martial technique is important to sell the illusion to the audience. If a fighter is out of stance, lazy, or sloppy the audience will lose interest in what's happening on stage. Stage combat also has a lot in common with dance. When you're in a stage fight, you're doing a learned sequence of movements (choreography) with a partner (not an adversary). 

Rehearsals for the daring combat

"All our weapons are 100% real spring steel. No rubber weapons here. They just don't make that pretty ringing noise. We do use dulled blades, though. We're not crazy, you know.

"And our silent auction will have a pretty wide variety of items to bid on. We have UT memorabilia, free passes to Flyaway in Pigeon Forge, hand made jewelry, and more. And of course, there will be baked goods."

Yummy desserts and combat! That makes for a winning combination in my book.

The event gets underway with doors opening at 7 PM, and the performance will begin at 8 PM. Admission is free with suggested $5 donation or bake sale purchase. Gift packs with merchandise and gift certificates from various local businesses will be up for bid in the silent auction. A portion of the proceeds will go to TribeOne, a community leadership development organization based in East Knoxville. Media sponsorship is provided by WUOT-91.9 FM. For information call 325-9877 or email

The WTP mission is to provide collaborative learning opportunities in a process-centered environment for artists of all experience levels and backgrounds, and to encourage appreciation of theatre in our community. Formed in 2006, the company is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 
So go!

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