Stuff You Need: Scenes

Along the lines of mental preparation, let’s chat about fight scenes. (Skip to the bottom if you’re in a situation where you don’t need text.) For FDC certifications (and many other societies) you may choose your own scenes for your test fight, but some teachers will provide text for you. Just in case, it’s a good idea to have a scene or two selected for each discipline, or a few scenes that could fit into multiple weapons. The current FDC Policies and Procedures document ( states that your dialogue must come from a published text. In Basic and Intermediate you are allowed to use film scripts.  However, it also states that you can use something else if approved by the adjudicator, so if you have a film script that you’re in love with, bring it, and ask when you arrive. Sometimes you’ll also have the option to use background music, so gather some of those options as well.

Here is a google doc with a list of fight scenes. I’ve published it as a google doc so please feel free to add details. Perhaps you can contribute details to help your classmates, such as the exact beginning and end points of the dialogue, add additional plays to the list, perhaps even scripts from your favourite emerging playwright!  I am hoping that we can list some of the more obscure pieces, particularly adding Canadian content. There are numerous lists of scenes out there. Let’s start combining them into one!

There is also a dropbox folder with numerous scripts collected. Please private message for details using our contact form.

When choosing text for a test fight, you are looking for brevity. Just enough dialogue to help you establish your characters and the scene. You only have 3 minutes for the both the dialogue and the fight, as states the Policies and Procedures, so no need to eat up all of that time with text that support the scene. Depending on how much you want to challenge your acting, you may choose characters that are very different from each other. You may find that having very different characters and setting helps you to have more fun with the workshop (if that’s possible… it’s so much fun already!), and help you to explore the different weapons in more ways than one. At the Advanced level, I definitely encourage you to choose as broad a range of choices as you can manage.  Also, have a balance between comedy and drama. In the end, it’s up to the adjudicators, but often, only one comedic scene is allowed in your test fight repertoire. Finally, by the end of the workshop, your brain can get addled, so distinctive characters in scenes you enjoy will help to bring you fully into the moment. So above all, choose something you like.

For situations when you are not requiring a published text (you are performing your fight to music, or you are required to create a scene yourself), I still suggest reading some plays, and use the characters and situations for inspiration. You can also use characters and situations from novels. If you’re an avid reader, start looking for novels with dynamic characters and situations. And enjoy!