Martial arts show combines fighting, Shakespeare and bros

By Daniel Kerwin

When going through dress rehearsals before a stage production, you wouldn’t necessarily expect the success of the rehearsal to be determined by the amount of blood that was shed. But the Macalester Martial Arts Club’s martial arts show isn’t your average stage production.”We’ve gotten through two dress rehearsals so far with only a minimal amount of blood,” said Zach Lazar ’10, who has been with the club since 2006.

Club president Devon Kristiansen ’12 has already lost blood in the pursuit of putting on this year’s show. Her arms show the cuts and bruises she has received rehearsing the fight. She has been practicing for the show since February.

You will be able to see the fruit of her work tonight at 10 p.m. on the MGO Stage in the campus center. Although the show is intended to include as much comedy as it does martial arts, Kristiansen’s fight with Marius Johansen ’13 will be one of the most physical sequences in the show.

The annual martial arts show is the crown jewel of the Macalester Martial Arts Club (MMAC) and is performed every spring with only a single showing.

Commenting on the nature of the show, Lazar said “It’s like a musical comedy, only instead of breaking into song we break into fighting each other.”

Each year the club writes a new comedic script to base the show around, with this year’s theme a take off Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. There is no one title for the show, and as per tradition the posters for the show on campus feature three alternate titles for it. The story line is set in sunny St. Paul and revolves around a rivalry between two families; the Scots, a family of hipsters, and the Tommies, a family of bros.

“I like to think of [the show] as balancing out the political correctness for Macalester for the rest of the year,” Kristiansen said.

The show is narrated once again by Kevin Williams ’09, creating an effect that makes the show feel similar to a vintage dubbed martial arts film. The plot was described by Kristiansen as being “more of a cohesive, recognizable plot” than past years, and the costumes will be more regulated than past years along the hipster and bro theme; in past years cast members dressed however they pleased without regard to their particular role in the show.

“It helps people remember who’s on what side,” said Kristiansen in regard to this year’s coordinated costuming.

The show incorporates many different styles of martial arts, including Muay Thai, Capoeira, Brazilian jiujitsu, Tae Kwon Do and even Drunken Boxing (which is apparently a distinct martial arts style). There are also a variety of weapons used in the performance, though their use is toned down to minimize the risk of injury during the performance.

This year’s show will present a lot of fresh talent that is in the club. Last year 12 of the of the club’s 18 members were seniors, but a large freshman class this year has provided a necessary boost after losing so many of the club’s former members.

“From the time I joined the club it was dominated by the class of 2009. fortunately the large freshman class has provided ample new talent and we’ve been able to keep our numbers high,” Lazar said.

Some of the current freshmen became interested in the club after seeing the show during a prospective student sampler last spring, and this year’s show is also during a sampler weekend.

Besides putting on the show, the Macalester Martial Arts Club (MMAC) hosts classes in six different styles of martial arts. Five of the classes are student taught, but the Wednesday night karate class is taught by professional instructors. Classes are held both in the Leonard Center and 10K. Part of the purpose of the show is to raise the visibility of the club on campus. Anyone who likes what they see and wants to try it out is encouraged to contact Kristiansen to learn more about the club.

“We’re always looking for new members any time of the year,” Kristiansen said.

So whether you’re a fan of martial arts or simply just comedy, or just are excited by the possibility of seeing blood, don’t miss the chance to see the martial arts show tonight.