Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Heh.. uh... hello...

Hi folks.

I uh... got a little busy.

Very busy actually, with work, and stuff.

I've been keeping my nose to the grindstone with all of my theater work, between the Public, Atlantic Theater Co. and random assorted freelancing elsewhere, now including the Park Ave. Armory, I barely had time to get married.

Which I did.  About 9 months ago.

I have also been acting, and getting hit by a taxi - nearly simultaneously in one case.  One is way more fun than the other, and I'll give you a hint, it's the one that didn't involve multiple injuries to me and my friends.

But with 2014 on the way, I'm on the mend and looking to be booking more fight work, analyzing more fights again, fabricating more prop weapons.

So, here's my lone post in over a year, with nothing really to say except I hope 2013 was as adventure filled for anyone who reads this as it was for me.  By this time next year there may also be a new combatant onstage.  The ladywife and I are "casting" now!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The fight from Blast Radius!

Combat begins as Shirley (another woman in House 4) turns her back to Willa, and no one is watching...

Willa pulls a combat rated reaper of the rack by the stairs and steps around to swing downward and forward at Shirley's exposed back.  Shirley goes to her knees, collapsing to the floor, Willa attempts to remove weapon, finally planting her foot on Shirley's shoulder and pulling the weapon free from her spine.  This allows for dialogue timing and for Fee (the other person in the room) to get a combat rated reaper to Ronnie.

Simultaneous to Willa striking, Fee yells, and moves towards Willa while Ronnie goes for the reaper rack.  Dialogue telling Fee to go get Peck (the big strapping dude who usually does the killing), Fee exits.

As Fee exits, Willa extracts her weapon, leaving Shirley, dead on her side, back towards door, away from audience (screening the audience from having to see the vicious wound and us from producing it)  Willa advances on Ronnie, they face off for a split second sizing each other up.  Willa strikes first and unexpectedly.

Willa swings lowline with pole end, not the blade, towards Ronnie's pregnant belly - intending to strike her in a sensitive area.  Ronnie bends from the hip, and scoots back half a step (called "caving") and raises her own weapon, parallel to the floor for balance and to block an overhand strike.

Willa having not made contact follows through with her strike and whips the blade around and down in an overhead chop, like an axe towards Ronnie's head.  Ronnie's reaper is already up and in a strike ready position, to be contacted safely with force.  Ronnie's reaper is also a pre-fabricated breakaway prop designed to shatter from this impact - it does, leaving her shocked and holding broken halves of a weapon.

Willa reverses her momentum from the downward swing that shattered Ronnie’s weapon.  Willa strikes at Ronnie’s blade (left) hand with pole end of weapon – a rising strike, travelling on the diagonal upstage.  Ronnie makes blocking contact with blade end, and allows weapon to be "slapped" from her hand.

Ronnie counter attacks with stick end.  Willa checks with her weapon (blocking the strike and curves the bottom end around the strike, in a disarming move, that simultaneously brings her blade into position for a lateral cut across Ronnie's upper body.  Ronnie is ducking already leaving Willa clear to strike the wall with force.

With nowhere to go but down, Ronnie dives for the floor and scrambles past Willa as she attempts to remove her reaper blade from the wall.  (we didn't have breakaway wall sections - I'd have LOVED that).

Ronnie attempts to crawl away, downstage.  She could be defeated here - if only Willa was willing to deliver a killing blow - but she has been angry for months and we see a human set of emotions replacing her alien calm.  She begins toying with Ronnie.  Planting the pole end of the reaper on the floor between Ronnie's fleeing legs, She lifts and Ronnie has no choice but to spin over, now on her back, still scuttling away.

Ronnie gets a chair between herself and Willa pulling herself back to her feet, and around Shirley's dead body, towards the shelf where various tools are shelved.  She grabs the first thing to hand, a large pair of metal shears, and circles around to center stage, getting herself some added space.  Willa gives no reaction but to cross downstage to match Ronnie’s angle of attack, half smiling to herself.  This is satisfactory in every way.

Ronnie not being particularly savvy has her right arm extended with the shears point up towards Willa.  Willa needs only to use her longer reach with the much bigger weapon to slap down at them from her hand, and immediately reverses her strike to a rising upwards momentum.

This was the only REALLY tricky moment in the fight that I worried about.  A large pair of metal shears was being slapped to the floor and half a second later, Becky Byers had to be smacked in the head with the flat back of a weapon.  All very easy to do in slow motion, but requiring a LOT of practice, trust and skill to pull off at speed - shockingly effective when done right.  And I'm proud to say - they got it right every time.  A few scary moments in rehearsal sure, as speeds increased, but no one got hurt!  Which is a win for me!

When Ronnie is struck in the head (in reality her left hand is coming up to block in an instinctive reaction and it is her hand that makes slapping noise contact, her head being 6 inches upstage of any actual contact) she reels over to the couch falling down.

The game at an end, Willa brings her reaper around for a killing blow at Ronnie's back.  Ronnie grabs a pillow from the couch and gets it between her face and the oncoming blade just in time, trapping the weapon and using Willa's momentum to pull her off balance.  We built an extra 2 pulls of a tug of war here for safety's sake allowing everyone to get their footwork solid before "falling all over the place".

Again for clarity, the strikes at faces and bodies are all designed to appear to be going for lethal targets , which meant a proficiency in the choreography was needed - and each strike had a PLAN B - so that if for some reason, no eye contact was made, or something was wrong, an alternate safety move could be made.  The weapons themselves were lightweight plastic and wood - and should any blocks fail there would be NO chance of injury.  This also resulted in having to rebuild three of the weapons over the run for safety's sake - as a rubberized plastic edge became bent, or ragged for any reason it was removed discarded and fresh smooth safe "blade" was added.

So, Ronnie now has pulled the reaper away from Willa, and has the advantage!  As she gets herself ready to kill, and is moving toward Willa, Willa circles away towards to reaper rack and simply draws another weapon.

There is no good way for me to explain this next part except that it is a fast moving series of strikes and blocks, patterned after an eskrima flow drill, learned under Bram Frank and Michael Stone.  This pattern of strikes and blocks ends with Willa once again working her pole end of the weapon into a disarming position and stripping the reaper from Ronnie.  Yeah, Ronnie's just not that good a fighter.

Willa stabs at Ronnie's belly and she must block with her body to avoid a lethal cut.  Ronnie's right forearm is sliced, and bleeding (initially handled by having this action take place behind the couch and allowing Ronnie to get her hands on a blood pack hidden on the back of the furniture piece).  Willa immediately chops laterally at Ronnie's head, and Ronnie must once more dive for the floor - narrowly escaping her demise.  The reaper blade once more is stuck into the wall.  Again - no breakaway wall sections, but Cotton Wright struck that wall with such force every night, (including one time shattering the weapon) people in the audience gasped.  Becky's body was more than 18 inches away from the impact point by then but folks literally freaked out when they realized that Willa was swinging to kill!

Now crawling on the floor, Ronnie encounters the broken blade end of her first weapon and is able to get it up into blocking position before Willa's next strike, aimed at her neck, comes into contact.  This block becomes a force play, with the two women glaring and dare I say sometimes snarling at each other, with their faces inches away from each other.

At that moment, Ronnie lets go with her right hand and delivers a simple right hand snap jab to Willa's face.  Bear in mind, moments earlier in the play Willa has a monologue in which she discusses the extreme sensitivity of the human skin to anything, air itself is almost painful.  Willa has never been touched in violence, and getting punched in the face stuns her long enough for Ronnie to get clear with BOTH weapons.

Willa falls to her knees, realizing through her pain that this fight is over, and a murder is about to commence.  She begins pleading for her own life, and the life of her unborn human child, while slowly crawling backwards (behind the couch!) as Ronnie tests her wounded right arm and swings the broken blade end of her reaper in a few test chops.  Once Willa is out of sight, behind the couch, Cotton would pull a pad over her own midsection and Ronnie would begin screaming an flailing away with the blade at Willa, chopping her into a mess - one which the audience does not see.

Sitting an watching the fight each evening from the booth I kept an eye on the audience as much as I could - looking for reactions.  My highest compliment came from a guy who had his hands in front of his face from the first moment of Shirley's death and watched the entire fight between his fingers, face contorted in terror.

That is the effect of violence on an audience.  No one cheered, or grinned.  It wasn't cool.  Which is of course what made it such an effective fight scene.  I'm very proud of the work that was done there.  I hope to improve on it someday.

Until later - be at peace in real life, and be kicking ass onstage!

Sovereign is coming soon!

Hi Tim, and the Not Tim readers,

 Despite my best efforts, I am still not posting as often as I'd like to be, and somehow find myself fabricating weapons for the upcoming production of "Sovereign" (Part III of Mac Rogers' Honeycomb Trilogy) without ever finishing posting about "Blast Radius" - which closed a couple months ago. 

What? Fabricating weapons you say?

 As noted in previous blogs, the characters in the post apocalyptic, alien occupied, farming society of "Blast Radius" were forced to improvise weapons to fight off their 15 foot tall insectoid oppressors - using "reapers". Essentially 5 foot pole axes for chopping swamp veggies in place of anything else. They are the few limited pieces of technology allowed. In the course of the play, the characters discover a far more potent and costly weapon that allows them to wage a deadly war on the bugs. "Blast Radius" ended with this war beginning, and "Sovereign" will begin some years after it's completion and a victorious human race is trying to pick up the pieces.

 Some few bugs survive though - and a dedicated team of hunters uses their instincts, rage and talents to find them and kill them. A few of the Bug Hunters appear during the course of the play - and I noted that in rehearsals the actors were using the "reapers" I made for the previous play. I didn't like that. The war is over. Any quasi-militia unit would not be using improvised weapons at this point. They may not have good gear, or even very effective gear due to the continuing lack of high technology, but the tools they use would not be re-purposed farm implements. They would have made weapons specific to the task. Longer. Double edged. Stronger. "Reaper 2.0" I'm calling them. 

And I'm making them now. But... no spoilers.

 I wanted to talk Blast Radius, specifically one of the most fun weaponized fights I've had the pleasure of choreographing, using some of the most game actors I've had the privilege of working with as a fight director. If you saw Blast Radius, you know the fight I'm talking about - Becky Byers and Cotton Wright as very pregnant ladies Ronnie and Willa battling it out to the death with 5 foot polearms. I promised earlier to map out the fight here, and so I shall.

 I'm writing it out below in the most basic language possible, so as not to get caught up in the terminology of the style of fighting I used. It is also important to note that one of the stage directions Mac Rogers wrote in was "The fight is simultaneously clumsy and vicious." To me that says a lot. These aren't skilled warriors doing highly acrobatic moves. This is a human woman carrying a late term baby and an alien mind trapped in another human woman carrying a late term baby, and they mean to kill each other. Not look cool, or badass, or anything. They want each other dead. There was no room for fancy stuff. So... next post please!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mac Rogers - playwright, and me - that guy

Hey folks,

The world of Joe Mathers has seen some interesting developments in the past few months. To start, for the few of you that are Facebook friends, you'll already know that a show I was in back in November of 2011 "The Runner Stumbles" will be making it's way off Broadway. If that doesn't seem like much, know that it means I'm taking the next step towards being a full time actor instead of a full time stagehand by joining Actors Equity Association. I've made the vast amount of my income in the last year from being a freelance carpenter/electrician/stagehand in NYC. That's good work, and it's fun and exciting, but yeah - I still love performing too much to walk away. Plus I've been booking more fight work too, and since this is a blog about fight choreography I want to talk about a particular trilogy of plays I've been involved with by a favorite writer of mine, Mac Rogers.

Mac is a guy, a guy like any other except for a few things. He's a singularly gifted writer, and lately he's been working on a series of plays called the Honeycomb Trilogy. In short, and without spoiling anything, these plays center around the family of a retired astronaut named Bill Cooke who returns from the first manned mission to Mars with a little something extra - the dying hopes of an alien race of very large... bugs. The first play in the trilogy is called Advance Man which was produced in January. I had the good fortune to do a little of the fight work for the play, which amounted to a bit of gunplay.

I like Mac's work because he focuses on characters and the violence involved is driven by the choices hey've made, and is grounded in who they are. In Advance Man, a teenage girl gets her hands on a pistol and in an effort to forestall the inevitable invasion of Earth takes a shot at a woman intent on triggering the device that will hatch millions of these aliens worldwide. Guess what? A pistol is hard to use if you don't know how to use it, and so... she misses. The very next line of dialogue in the play after the weapon fires is "You have to hold it with both hands."

I loved that.

The next play, "Blast Radius" features a fight between two very pregnant women. As in 8 months pregnant. They are fighting each other with 5 foot polearms, and just last night I had three hours to work with the combatants and director on the choregraphy. Three hours isn't much, but it's a great start and is sadly far more than I usually get to work on something this intense. At speed the fight should clock in under a minute - which is really long for a fight. Needless to say, I'm sooooo excited about this sequence. I can't really talk too much about it without giving plot elements away, but I can say that I'm very lucky to have two actors with miles of guts, patience, and skill. The initial rehearsal and mapping went spectacularly well, I think. A few tweaks here and there and we'll have a fight that should have the audience on the edge of their seats.

Because one of the characters is a little um... different... there are some special circumstances that come into play (on top of them both being pregnant). I can't stand fights that drag on where characters are taking hit after hit and somehow functioning cleanly once they've been cut, punched kicked, etc. So I have choreographed something more realistic - they don't miss, they don't unrealistically absorb wounds that would incapacitate a human. They are just viciously going for it. All out, with intent to kill. And when the kill does happen, it isn't cool. It isn't clean. It's brutal. In a departure from my usual work, it's big and brutal.

So. If you are interested in seeing an outstanding standalone play that continues the story of Advance Man, with a badass fight in it, I recommend you come see "Blast Radius" at the Secret Theater in Long Island City, opening on March 30th, through April 14. You can pick up your tickets here...

Oh and... I'm also in it. I play a guy named Jimmy, I get to make out with my fiancee on stage. Hot.

Then I'm going to go build a bunch of scenery and then get back on stage in Retro Production "The Runner Stumbles." This means I'll also be listening to lot of Nightranger's Sister Christian for comedy's sake. There's a quick fight in that show - which I'm proud of, but it's way different than Blast Radius. Wheeeeeeee!

I'm also coming up on 1 year free of the much hated office gig and I haven't looked at Expedia.com's website once. It's been an awesome year.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Advance Man and The Coffee Shop - I make some nasty!

Howdy howdy ladies and gents – time to get back to regular posting, since it’s been noted how absent from the Small and Brutal blog I’ve been for awhile. Yes, Walking Dead is good TV. I’m glad you get it.

SO, for the past several weeks I’ve been up to my usual activities, stage handing, carpentry and choreographing isolated moments of violence. In particular, I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with one of my favorite young directors, Ms. Olivia Harris who directed John Doble’s “Coffee Shop” an odd little play about a first date that goes horribly wrong/right. A young man pushed to the unthinkable limits of good taste and how to impress a lady decides that knifing the snarky waiter at the small coffee shop they are in is the way to go. Well maybe he doesn’t decide it, but his impulses get the better of him either way. They certainly get the better of the poor waiter, played to irritating perfection by another of my favorite younger professionals – Alex Enquist. By the way – they aren’t kids. They’re just not 30 something. So they seem young to me.

For this stabbing I went to the spare bedroom workshop to grind down a piece of old steel bar scrap from the Public Theater into a prop hunting knife. Since this is a prop is it is never intended to take or hold an edge, plate steel is fine, hard enough to withstand rigors of prop usage yet soft enough to never be workable as a real blade for very long. It’s about as sharp as a thick spoon.

That said, it’s still a chunk of steel, and handled poorly it’s still not the kind of thing you want clunking into someone. The murder is conducted in the span of just a few seconds – and due to the constraints of budget and time onstage for this little one act shorty, this is also a bloodless effect. But working out the details in what was a rather intimate space meant I had to go back to my trusty Gray’s Anatomy for some quick bio-mechanical analysis. One stab, and the victim drops is what I needed. Dead quickly.

I surmised that the best way to stab someone in the back and have them drop like they’d been poleaxed would mean somehow disrupting the controls from brain to body. That, to me, suggested a strike to the base of the neck, into or damaging the spine, and possibly some major blood vessels. Except, let’s also be honest – it’s very very difficult to do that. Even on purpose. Especially for a character who is NOT a proficient user of the tool.

So, the stab is on purpose, but the rapid demise of the victim is somewhat of a surprise. The move was choreographed as a roughly overhand strike, in reverse grip with the edge pointing up. This – by the way is similar to the “Psycho” shower stabbing scene, except that the edge is facing out at the victim, not back towards the attacker. Don’t get me started.

As the blade is coming close to the victims back, the attacker needs only to bend his wrist so that his knuckles (gripping the handle) tap the victim on the back, to the side of the spine. The victim goes rigid in the upper body, and immediately collapses to his knees, and the attacker simply “rides” the hand down. All the while seeming to struggle to remove the blade from the victims back. The yanking and tugging is done by the victim, only for a brief second or two before the distraction of the blade coming loose is covered by the victims head bouncing off of the table in front of him. He slams to the floor, dying very rapidly, and capable of no further purposeful action. By the way – the audience is facing the victim directly, so they never see the blade once it is past the victims shoulder, allowing for very safe and very fast movement.

Yes, in the real world this would be a VERY twitchy, bloody, and disgusting thing. But as I mentioned, it’s a one act and they have to get offstage for the next play in the festival, so no gore.

It’s hard to describe the movement, and I would like to start getting some film footage up here, so we can all see what it is I’m talking about. But alas, apparently that’s not always allowed. Ah well…

Simultaneously, while working on “Coffee Shop”’s little moment of nasty, I also had the distinct pleasure of working with Gideon Production’s latest, Mac Rogers’ “Advance Man” – part I of the Honeycomb Trilogy. I won’t review it – there’s enough great press about it already. It’s awesome. Go see it for the fight work, and stay for the far more incredible script, directing, and performances that my own work.

Which brings me to my next point – if there is a playwright who understands the general nuances of violence on stage, it’s Mac Rogers. Some limited gunplay in this show includes a young woman NOT holding a weapon properly and a resulting shot that goes a little wild. The very next line? “You have to hold it with both hands.”

I love that. There’s someone who’s paying attention.

However, I discovered that sometimes there are actors who are either unfamiliar with stage combat in general or actors who are very familiar with highly stylized stage combat. A single punch to the solar plexus between two such individuals, which I assumed would be simple, easy and the least time consuming and worrisome moment required quite a bit of finessing as we went along. This is not to say that the actors themselves were the problem – quite the opposite.

The actors were game. They were great. They ARE great. The problem is their fight choreographer. He (he being me) seemed to have a hell of a lot of trouble communicating his ideas clearly and succinctly. In retrospect, I believe I’ve discovered what the issue was.

In my haste and hubris to steer clear of the stylization of SAFD type of work, I glossed right over my OWN basics and workouts. What could have been and should have been more time spent at the top of the process developing an open and concise language and getting it into their bodies was skipped. The result – a lot of nerves and questions down the road as I worked to fine-tune the moment. In the end, it comes off rather well, but at the expense of performer anxiety. Next time around? I’ll be taking everyone to my school up front - so to speak.

And hopefully, next time around will be Part II of Mac’s trilogy of plays. “Blast Radius” has a scene consisting of two very pregnant women going at each other with vaguely scythe-like weapons. Neither of the two characters is a trained combatant with this “reaper” weapon, both are a little wobbly from pregnancy. I am excited because it is also a fight – a real fight, to the death between very desperate characters. It will be fast, it will be brutal, and assuming I can get a solid 9-12 hours with the combatants, it will be horrifying to watch.

So, until next time _ which honestly will be soooo much sooner, since I’ve also got a line on a doing some work for Boomerang Theater Company, which may include a rock fight, a broadsword and something entirely weird. Heh heh heh.

Stay small, stay quick, stay quiet, and stay brutal.

Oh and p.s. – the home knife shop is also churning out some nice blades these days. All stock removal, but I’m having fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Umm... if you haven't watched Walking Dead...

Stop what you're doing and watch it now.

I bring this up because the most recent episode, which aired on AMC this past Sunday evening was a perfect example of everything I believe could be right with fictional violence if we as storytellers had the balls to do it the right way.

Violence should not be easy for characters that aren't insane, even when it's forced on them by someone who isn't thinking clearly. Or by the shambling corpses of zombies. Violence should not be without consequences, and just when those characters think they understand all of those consequences, there are often unforeseen ramifications to the choice to use force.

And when writers understand these things, the resulting scene is haunting, inexpressibly sad, and will likely stay with you for years.

Spoiler Alert. Good news, we found Sophia. Bad news, we found Sophia in the barn.

Also - hooray for guy shooting one hand "gangsta-style" and getting criticized for bullshit form and not hitting anything.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Right... So... Fall?

Not too long after the prior posting, a solid 8 and a half months ago (during which time, I'm told a whole human can be manufactured inside of a female!) I finally did something I had been meaning to do for a long while.

What's that? You left your cushy yet soul crushing desk job at an unnamed major internet travel retailer?

Why yes, yes I did. It was a semi-mutual decision, suggested by the local regional director and heartily agreed to by me. Though I have to admit, I'd have been ok with the regular steady paycheck continuing but I could have done with a great deal less douche-baggery from their end. Alas, as it turns out - you can't have you cake and eat it too. Or in this case, if I wanted to keep accepting money from them, I had to keep accepting the douche-ness. So I've been more or less freelancing since the end of April.

You've been freelancing as a technician, fight choreographer and actor for 8 months?

Yes. I'll get to that in a second. Stop interrupting me.


But primarily, the biggest thing I pulled off was getting the lady-type to say yes to a marriage. So, there will someday be a Mrs. SmallandBrutal. I say someday because part and parcel with the whole freelancing thing is that there's no actual planning going on at this point. But we'll get there. But yes, I'm taking a second stab at marriage. Or rather a second stab at engagement. Never made it to the marriage part before.

Now - what else have I been doing with my time since April? A lot actually. I've done some highly weird things in fact - among them working in the Madame Tussauds Chamber of Horrors. Which by the way if you think is scary with the lights out, you should breeze through there with the lights on. >shudder< Let's just say, OSHA would have a field day in there. I normally don't like to gossip, but wow. Glad to have kept that gig to just a few weeks.

I've been mostly making my living (and doing OK at it by the way) as an actor/technician. Did you know that they pay movie and TV extras money to do NOTHING?! It's not a lot of money, but you literally do nothing.

There was also Retro Productions Dear Ruth, which was alas completely devoid of combat and violence, followed by the Brick's comic book festival production of Action Philosophers! This show had a bit more violence, but nothing too insane. We actually remounted it in October and changed it up again and had a bit more choreography.

I also got to have a bit of fun with a new Becca Schlossberg (she of 3 Boys fame) play - taking the opportunity to design some moments of violence with a 13 year old actress (playing 11). I and the production were very fortunate in that this kid was sharp and talented. Acted more like a 30 year old than an 13 year old. Which isn't to say she was old before her time, just that she handled herself like a pro. Working out some slaps, punches and grappling with her and her cast mates under the direction of Madeliene Parsigian was a treat. The show suffered a few setbacks none of which made the final production any less of what it wanted to be.

That more or less brings us to where I am now - mid run of another Retro show, Milan Stitt's "The Runner Stumbles." Oddly enough there's a decent amount of blood and some brief moments of violence within this show about priest on nun love and the consequences of denying/accepting that love in a harsh word that blah blah blah...

I'm playing Amos, the jail guard which means I have the character arc of start a mean bastard, end a mean bastard with extended time for backstage boozing between. The show itself has turned out excellently, no thanks to my acting. But I will say I did some nice stuff regarding the violence.

I've been working on a theory that sometimes the slow violence is more meaningful and in the capable hands of experienced and nuanced actors can be very effective. When there's quick stuff to balance it out, you get a nice portrait of a loss of control. One of my new favorite stage directions comes from this play (the other being Winter's Tale "exit Antigonus pursued by bear") and is: "Nun slaps Priest. Priest slaps Nun."

Am I the only one who thinks that's kind of funny?

I had a few variants on this, but with such a simple set, it's really about intent and the physical psychology involved. Rather, with two simple and virtually identical moves, how can I set up the communication with one slap a desperate need to feel something from another that isn't church dogma, and then immediately the return strike needs to communicate animal aggression dressed in blacks. If you've seen the show hopefully you know the moment you know I'm talking about. Specificity in the blocking down to the footwork is key.

And there's also a fun knife effect, which I'm proud of. Rather than use a dummy knife, I took an existing kitchen knife, filed the bejesus out of the edge so it's about as a sharp as a spoon, and then took a Dremel router bit and milled out the handle so I could insert a medicine dropper into the handle. I super glued the bulb into the handle, flush against the tang, and painted it to match the handle wood. The pipette runs about 4/5ths of the way down the blade, and is painted in a med gloss silver metallic acrylic to match the sheen of a used kitchen paring knife. So, when Father Rivard is provoked, he picks up the prop, and deliberately moves the dulled edge across the ball of his thumb to show he does in fact bleed like an ordinary man, the audience sees a knife that was just used to slice fruit slice across a man's hand and blood immediate wells up. No spurting, or squirting. Just deep welling. And dripping. Good smear consistency. I've been rewarded with some nice gasps from the audience.

So what's next?

I honestly couldn't say. I'm just floating from gig to gig at this point, and enjoying working more in film and TV where it's safe to say I've made more money doing nothing that I have busting my ass in theater. Clearly this is something worth pursuing.

More later. Just letting Tim and the not Tim readers of the old Knives Guns and Other Assorted Trouble blog that I'm in fact alive. Yep. Still Alive. I am doing science and I'm still alive. And when you're dying I'll still be alive.