Spotlight on... Kevin McCurdy (fight director)

Spotlight on... Kevin McCurdy (fight director)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Kevin McCurdy is currently Fight Director for A View from the Bridge, choreographing the dramatic downfall of Eddie Carbone. But how did he get into the industry and what's the process for staging a fight?

How did you get into being a fight director? Was it by chance or did you literally fight your way to the top?
I got into fight directing when I started training as an actor in drama college. I became the Fight Master's assistant and was with him for five years studying to become a Fight Tutor while I was also acting. So, I was always watching him when he was working on stage and TV shows. After three years, I graduated from Welsh College of Music and Drama (before it became 'Royal' and I graduated two years after that as a stage combat fight tutor. I then did another three and a half years study to become a pro fight director under the Society of British Fight Directors scheme. I achieved the requirements and after over eight years of studying, the rest is history. 

How do you begin the process for staging a fight scene?
I always read the script so I can get a working knowledge of the piece. I let ideas flow but I never set them in concrete. For me personally, I look at the piece first from the actor's point of view, never from the fight director's point of view. Being an actor first, I've found it invaluable to find the beat of the play, the scene, the character before I even start choreographing. Depending on the scene, I look and work with the actors and actresses on movement, physically what they can and can't do, what they're going to be wearing, (clothes and footwear), the staging, weaponry, the period. Once that's in place, then I start to work.

You're currently working on A View from the Bridge rehearsals, tell us about that.

It's great fun! Working with a lovely team of actors and actresses, listening to their suggestions and always trying things out. They're so willing to make the action truthful, organic and dynamic, it's really exciting to see them work.

Kevin McCurdy goes through the sequences of a fight scene with Jonathan Guy Lewis

What is your relationship with the director? How do you work together to create the perfect fight?
I've known Stephen (the director), a few years now and when he brings me in, I know how he works, so when we discuss what his vision is, I always try my hardest to make that happen for him. Stephen is a great director who likes to see the ugly, truthful side of violence and that's how I work. He tells me what he wants and I give it him. We're both visual, truthful people when we work and we respect each other so working with Stephen is a joy.

Who is your hero/ heroine?
I wouldn't say heroes or heroines but there are a lot of people who have inspired me to raise my game in this field: my fellow pro fight directors, my students at Royal Welsh College, (past and present), for movement: Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, for martial arts: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Richard Farmer (who introduced me to Tai Chi and blew my head), my long suffering partner Sian who's given me 20+ yrs of support and my family and friends.

A View from the Bridge opened at Theatre Royal, Nottingham, where it ran from 4 to 7 March 2015. It then toured to Cheltenham, Darlington, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Coventry and Edinburgh, where it concluded on 2 May.