Friday, April 29, 2011

Metrodash Challenge!

Hit the Mat is raising funds by seeking sponsors for its' cast members' participation in Metrodash.

Metrodash is a 30-station obstacle course designed by Navy Seals to be run in the Meadowlands, NJ, on Saturday, May 14. The event will benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation.

You can help the Hit The Mat Company by sponsoring one or more of our team members. Simply pledge a certain amount of money per obstacle that they clear, and submit the total within 14 days after the event.

Here's the way it's going to work: Send an e-mail to saying what your sponsorship level will be. You may pledge a certain amount per obstacle or simply a flat amount.

For example:

I would like to sponsor Captain Zorikh's run in "Hit the Mat" for $1 per obstacle."

This would oblige you to pay $30 if I clear all the obstacles. Within 14 days of the event (by May 28) send in your contribution by PayPal or make other arrangements through Captain Zorikh.

Of course you may send in your contribution before the event, in whcih case, if you send $10 or more, you will receive a Hit the Mat T-Shirt.

Thank you for your support!

Hit the Mat at Figment Festival!

Hit the mat will be participating in the Figment Festival on Governor's Island June 10-12, 2011!

More details coming soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anachrosnistic Grappling Performance!

So we were the opening act of the Anachronism Steampunk Event at Webster Hall on Sunday April 10.

We entered with a cast that was shy a few members, for various reasons, so we switched some roles around and shortened the show a bit. We had to eliminate "Hamlet" and "Princess Bride/Buttercup," and "Romeo/Tybalt/Mercutio." Almost every other scene was performed with alternates in at least one role. But since we had been working on these scenes with the alternate performers they came off well, some even better than they had at the Wicked Faire. Of particular note was "Who's on First," which, because of the particular physical skills of the alternate performer, wound up a much more physical scene. The alternate for "On the Waterfront" actually shows potential for an interesting new angle on the scene.

I sang a song before the performance (since the theme of the party was "Return to Candyland," I did my "M&M Song"), and after the performance we held a few challenge matches and exhibitions. The crowd ate the whole thing up. Once again, they cheered and laughed at all the right moments and made us look forward to our next performance at a Steampunk event.

In all, it was a good performance experience to continue building on, and proved the flexibility of the cast and the show, as well as its popularity with the Steampunk world.

Here are the highlights of the performance...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

After Wicked...

...we went right back to work. Drilling of our "routine moves" took a back seat as we started tweaking and tuning our scenes.

The cast was kind enough to give me their thoughts about the show. There were ideas about the order of the scenes, costumes, and potential future performance venues. Many of these ideas will be enacted upon and all will be considered.

I submitted the show to several comic book conventions and arts festivals. I have not heard any confirms yet, except for the Anachronism Steampunk event at Webster Hall on Sunday, April 3.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wicked Faire Premiere

On the weekend of February 19-20, we had the “sneak premiere” of “Hit the Mat” at Jeff Mach’s Wicked Faire.

Through the course of the rehearsals, the show evolved into what I have come to call “The Drama Club Tag Team Championships.” Members of the cast had submitted scenes from plays and movies, and we choreographed grappling routines into them. The idea was to have, as much as possible, the meanings and intentions behind each line expressed by the moves.

We got to the event bright and early. So early, in fact, that nobody at the event who knew what was going on was available. When we got things sorted out, it turned out that they had put in a small conference room, one the size of a standard small hotel room. Far too small to perform in. They were nice enough to work with me, though, and found us a spot in the lobby under a stairway where we could set up and be busy all day. Thus was the “Warriors of Doom Wrestling Corner” established again.

After a run-through, I had lectures and performances to give, and the cast held down the location by holding “challenge matches.” I was able to give a demonstration of “grappling for fun and safety,” and the mats were kept busy almost nonstop. One fellow, who had challenged all three Warriors of Doom two years ago, challenged us again.

Then came time for the show. Technically, it went off without a hitch. It was a no-tech show, using only the house lights and no amplification. The audience was close enough, seated on the floor and standing around us, that lights and sound really weren’t an issue. However ambient noise was. There were other performances going on in the lobby, and the sound of them occasionally blasted over our performance. We soldiered on, though and did the best we could.

As the director of the piece, I saw a million little things that I that can be done better, but the cast threw themselves into the work and the audience was with us every step of the way. They laughed at all the right moments and cheered at the most skillful of the moves. Afterwards, comments from the audience were exactly what I wanted to hear. They enjoyed the show immensely and said that the moves made the scenes more dramatic, more meaningful, even more understandable, especially the Shakespeare.

The next day we found out that we had to move our performance location. We were given a nice big room and moved the mats into them and set up chairs like a real performance space. We spread the work of our performance and by the time our afternoon show came around, we had a good-sized audience.

This show went even better. Some flubs that had occurred the precious day were fixed, and the pace was better. The morale was high and we concluded the weekend with a very good feeling.

Part of what made the shows so successful was the fact that Armond Cecere had brought his mats for us to use. We were able to lay them down, doubled up, which gave us a nice padded surface to fall down on. Sadly, it seems that the promotional photos, videos, T-shirts, and other stuff that he had brought to sell disappeared out of his bag before we left!

Having seen the show twice, there are a few things I might adjust about it. The order of some of the scenes may be moved around. There is definitely work needed in certain parts of the scenes that are not realizing their full potential. But none of this discounts the amazing fact that in just a couple of months a diverse group of people, with truly diverse levels of skill in the grappling and theatrical arts, was able to realize the idea of making a grappling arts stage show a successful reality.

We had been offered an opportunity to perform again at the Alternative Living Expo near Philadelphia, but between the number of cast members who would not be able to make it, the work that I wanted to do on the show, and other things that occurred that weekend, we passed. There are other events coming up, though, at which we will definitely be performing.

In all, I must say that I am pleased with the start this show has gotten and look forward to where it can go.

Here are some highlights from the shows at Wicked Faire…