Fight Design for Kettle Moraine High School’s “Pirates of Penzance”
Orion did the fight and violence design for our summer production of Pirates of Penzance. Not only were students, my staff, and I impressed by his knowledge of the show and quality fight direction, everyone enjoyed working with him. As a veteran educator who has been teaching and directing high school theatre for 15 years, I have worked with a variety of guest instructors and presenters, and given my experiences with Orion over 3 days of rehearsal/workshop time he ranks among the top few.
It was obvious each student in our cohort was engaged by Orion’s demeanor, teaching style, and professional theatre training. My students (grades 6-12) gained the necessary saftey, knowledge, and artistry in order to successfully and safely tell our stage story using weapons and stage combat. Moreover he quickly gained their respect which enhanced student engagement, participation, and enjoyment of our summer theatre program overall. Students were very excited when they heard he would be returning for tech week rehearsals and groaned when we announced he would not need to come back for dress rehearsal. Multiple parents approached me (unsolicited) after rehearsals and performances to say how much they heard about Orion from their kids and wondering (and hoping) if I had future collaborations planned. For one ninth grade boy I think the experience of working with Orion “cliched the deal” of working with more theatre in the future. He signed up for our summer show promising to “try drama” under some strong encouragement from him mother, and at set strike he started asking how he could get involved in Drama Club productions in the fall.
As a high school drama director who does not come from a background in professional theatre, I also gained from collaborating with Orion – and I do mean collaboration. When Orion was referred to me I was looking for a consultant to teach my students safe stage sword play for 2 scenes under 2 minutes. Out of respect for the credentials and time of whomever I was able to get for our small budget and short production time, I was prepared to go with almost whatever the professional brought- even if it did not really fulfill my artistic vision for the show. Orion far exceeded my expectations, working with me as a colleague, though his professional theatre credentials far surpass mine, and he truly cared about meeting my desires as a director/producer artistically, practically, and educationally. He is intense, but cares intensely about the work at hand, and brings great passion, energy, and skill to the work. I will definitely contact Orion when I have future stage combat and sword work needs for the shows I direct and theatre workshops I sponsor for students in our school district. I would recommend him to any colleague looking for a fight designer or stage combat instructor, and very emphatically for those in an educational environment for teens and young adults. – Abby Kean ( Kettle Moraine High School & KM Perform)
“Orion’s classes encourage children to use imaginative play in order to explore their emotions, master their fears, and develop resilience. Orion created a special class for our small group, which allowed our children to dive into their developmentally appropriate struggles with aggression, competition, loss, friendship, and loyalty. My children’s own sibling relationships were deeply enriched by Orion’s supportive, creative, and courageous classes.” – Dana