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Fight Fest @ The Brick Theater - 12.17.9

ENTER THE DOWNSTAGE: A shadowy figure resolves the escalating conflict in The Ninja Cherry Orchard, one of the plays at Fight Fest, a three-week long festival of new works featuring stage combat and fight choreography.


--A couple years ago I caught a play called The Jaded Assassin and got giddy over its use of kung fu fighting, dark humor, and theatre trick geekery.  It was so unique and fun that in the back of my mind, I patiently waited for some type of Broadway movement of less singing, more sword swinging to take root. It never did! But far away from Broadway, in a tiny theater hidden in Williamsburg, the idea has been kicking around through the mind of the guy who wrote Assassin, Tim Haskell.  The outcome is Fight Fest, 8 plays and 20 days of well-timed ass-stomping.  

--I sat in on three that sounded appealing: Last Life, a surly dystopian survival drama, The Ninja Cherry Orchard, Chekov's classic reworked to include more shinobi ninjas, and Deck the Hallmans, a semi-improvised holiday sitcom. Last Life showcased the most technical prowess, with one of its dark scenes ending in a devastating maneuver known only to UFC champions. An on-stage squibmaster would mosey his way into violent battles to spray blood and hand props, such as sliced ears and loose teeth, to actor-combatants. The Ninja Cherry Orchard provided the most laughs but could benefit from a katana blade to 15 minutes of non-ninja action. For the safety of its actors, the fights in Deck the Hallmans, were not improvised.

--Reviews of all the shows are at Time Out's Fight Fest Round-up: Part 1 & Part 2. The fest ends this weekend, each play goes up at least one more time.

--If there's not enough fake feuding in Brooklyn to sustain you, Hannukkaos goes down at the UCB this Saturday night.  Perhaps the UCBW and The Brick Theatre should team up if there's a Fight Fest 2: Championship Edition.

Fighters engage in mortal combat in Last Life

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