The Parrot on Your Shoulder: Stage Combat

Kids learning Stage Combat
July 15, 2022

When you think of stage combat, what do you think of? Do you envision action movies and superhero films? Heroic quests and battles brimming with awe? Truth be told, stage combat appears in many films and plays – more than you might realize!

Selling the Scene

In fact, there are even combat scenes in 101 Dalmatians – Kids! I mean, how can you not, with Cruella de Ville, Jasper, and Horace hounding after the pups? Our campers need to know how to make those scenes convincing. We call that “selling the scene.” And not only does it need to look real, but it also needs to be SAFE. That safety includes not only physical safety, but also the comfort and trust of the participants—so, the principle of consent is critical too.

But of course, there’s a lot that goes into stage combat. So, we invited stage combat pro Dominic Ciarrocchi, and his associates, Sean McGarry and Terri McIntyre to hold a workshop with all of our campers.

After lots of discussion about safety and consent, the campers, wide-eyed, watched a couple of demonstrations.

Telling the Story: Time to Practice!

Stage combat is about telling a story—and making it convincing.  The kids learned how to make it look like they were pushing their “victim.” In reality, this hostile illusion was more like a dance that the “victim” was truly leading.

Kids learning Stage Combat












Kids practicing Stage Combat










After that, our campers practiced taking a “swing” and making it look real by aiming for an imaginary parrot sitting on the shoulder of their “victim.”

Stage combat is, of course, far more complex than the hour workshop that all of our campers, kids and teens alike, participated in. But for this busy second week, it was a great way to get their proverbial toes wet. And it paid off because, spoiler alert: the diabolical Cruella de Ville and her henchmen will be defeated in an eventful and daring rescue of all of the puppies!


This year’s summer camp is made possible in part by the generous support of Ocean First Bank. Thank you for making children’s dreams to shine come true.
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