True West

tricycle theatre

There’s no love lost between brothers Austin and Lee in Sam Shepard’s True West – and some pretty spectacular fight scenes to show for it! Today we welcome True West Fight Director Renny Krupinski to the Tricycle blog to tell us how he ended up choreographing fight scenes for the stage. This is the first post in a new blogging series of Industry Insights – follow the hash tag #industryinsights on twitter.

When I was at drama college I didn’t even know there was such a job as “fight director”. However, I was good at the fencing and consequently my first two jobs involved major fights in Kean and Hamlet and then I didn’t pick up a sword for 10 years. I was always the character that watched the fight or went to get someone because the was a fight going on! Then I was cast as Ross (no fights again) in Macbeth and I asked to look after the fights on tour. I did and from there I gained a confidence, choreographed a couple of fights for the wonderful John Adams and it was suggested I apply to be a fight director. I did, but was told that the rules had just changed and to become an Equity Registered Fight Director, I needed all my fencing medals and a senior grade in a martial art and a few other requirements. I’d been struck by the bug by then and I couldn’t give it up; so for three years I trained in the art of fencing and Iwama style Aikido, achieved my grades, fulfilled all the requirements of The Equity Register and was one of 2 new breed fight directors admitted to an elite.

That was over 25 years ago and having worked for some of the most exciting directors around and with some of the most skilful actors, it is with delight I can claim a close working relationship with Phillip Breen, who is quite extraordinary and who has such a trust in my skills that I am flattered beyond compare. When he asked me to work on True West in Glasgow I was very excited. A big fan of Sam Shepard’s writing, I knew what would be required of me, the cast and the play and I was ready for the challenge. Every play requires invention and True West requires a protracted manic slow build so it was very important to judge it right. The cast have been amazing, precise with every detail, Phillip… incredibly supportive and trusting and my hope is that Tricycle audiences will respond in a way that serves the play and them equally. If it was easy… everyone could do it. I believe True West to be something extraordinary and a treat for everyone who watches.

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Renny Krupinski