We had the pleasure to try out our very first Lightsaber Lesson with EDGE Theatre.
Orion Couling was last night's instructor along with a couple of the cast members from the MacSith Ensemble (here's our review of MacSith, just in case you missed it this year).
The class was broken down into 3 sessions, with the last being our "graduation" to becoming a Jedi Knight or (Sith Lord, whichever you prefer). What we loved about last night's sessions were:
Different Fighting Styles Used
So, basically the class wasn't just a bunch of adults on a Wednesday night playing with foam swords - we were given proper instruction. A wide range of fighting techniques were used during the lessons. There's some Aikido influence in the beginning part of the lesson, as mentioned in the curriculum, in which we learned to side-step sword blows. Some are a mix between a European style of sword fighting, fencing and handling a katana blade. I'm going to guess a little bit of kendo was mixed into the fights as well, judging from some of the striking moves a couple of kendo swords during practice.
Orion and the other instructors explained every single detail in such a professional matter - they will teach you why you have to hold the sword a certain way, and why certain ways of angling your blade can either be used to your advantage or against you. Even to the way you position your body. Here's me and the guys practicing during class.
A Few Tricks and Theatre and Movie Random Facts
Orion pointed out a few key moves done in the movie and also why certain moves work in film as opposed to it working in theatre and also in real life. I think that's as far as I can go for that part since most of this I would have to save as to not spoil it for everyone else wanting to come to this class.
Reinacting the Scene from Episode III: The Phantom Menace with Stage Light Sabers
I would have to say this was probably my favorite part of the lesson - to actually hold a professional stage light saber (from UltraSabers) and reinact the scene from Episode III where Obi Wan and Anakin had a fight. Here's the video as a refresher -
Now here's a more realistic version of the fight, as demonstrated in a slower motion by Orion and his assistant.
And here is my attempt on recreating this with my partner in class -
Ha ha ha! Ok, you got me. Damn, I was getting so good while practicing, but obviously I needed to practice more. We ended the entire session by saluting with our swords -
It was definitely a class enjoyed by all! I greatly suggest you try going to one of these classes, as proceeds for the lessons find the youth theatre program in EDGE Theatre! Here's a few more pictures from the class.
After class, I did spoke with Orioin to get a bit more information regarding EDGE Theare -
How did EDGE of Orion Theater start and what was the inspiration behind it?
E.D.G.E stands for Esteem Development through Greater Expectations. It was founded 12 years ago by Orion Couling and Rick Olson.
Mission StatementE.D.G.E.’s anachronism stands for “Esteem Development the Greater Expectations”. Using the theatre arts we educate and entertain to foster the tools of social change. EDGE has a goal of finding every participant’s personal best and holding them accountable to it. EDGE’s main thrust is developing theatre for marginalized communities and to bring a message of non-violence, civic, and social change through exploration of the theatre arts.
Status: We believe that giving a participant performance opportunities elevates them in status to their community. That status gives power, and that power can be wielded to evoke change.
Self esteem: When we do the impossible it makes us mighty. Whether its mounting a play in 8 weeks or making a speech for the first time, we are not afraid of the challenge and the possibility of failure. Only by challenging the possible and succeeding against the odds will we build the strength to endure life’s obstacles and the pride when we succeed.
Non-Violence through Action: We explore the impulses and get behind the scenes on feelings of aggression. We encourage “play” in a safe environment where participants can harness their bodies and minds into one spirit. Then use that spirit for peace.
I know that you do a lot of workshops with kids and adults - which ones are the popular ones/favorites? Which ones are the most under-rated?
The most popular workshop by far are our Lightsaber workshops. Under-rated workshops are our Bartitsu and Zombie workshops. They are incredibly fun, but you might not know what you're getting by just the description, so they are less-attended.
In 2008, EDGE Theatre started the Constellation Project which main goal is to " bring musical based theatre and classes to marginalized communities."*.
What was the most memorable moments you had in the Constellation Project?
All performances are memorable. To see kids who the previous year could not get out a line, deliver a monologue with intention and feeling is the most rewarding experience.
Do you work with certain institutions/schools other than Ups for Downs?
We work with Downs In the South in Chicago and AJCW doing classes as well.
Is there a way that people can participate, donate, sponsor the events?
If people want to participate, they can LIKE us on Facebook (EDGE Theatre and EDGE Youth Theatre) and check out upcoming events, and send Orion Couling a private Facebook message with inquiry. To donate, search for email@example.com on PayPal, or send a check to:
c/o EDGE Theatre
5805 N Ridge Ave #2
Chicago, IL 60660
We'll keep you posted on the next classes from EDGE of Orion in our calendar of events, but please don't forget they also have a couple of shows lined up -
HOLMES VS. HOLMES
November 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28 at 7:30 pm
November 8, 15, 22, 29 at 3:00PM
November 12, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st – 10:00PM
November 15th & 22nd – 7:30PM