Stage combat is all about the comfort level of the participants; if one combatant feels unsure about what he's doing with that blade, the fight looks staged and phony. During his turn as the title character in St. Louis Shakespeare's production of Cyrano de Bergerac, Todd Gillenardo made it appear as though his life hinged on his ability to wield a rapier — because Cyrano's life did hinge on this skill. Gillenardo's actions were crisp and graceful, his flourishes were dazzling and he fairly danced around the stage, all the while delivering his lines with the deft rhythm necessary to keep the alexandrine rhyme scheme flowing. His peerless fencing skill seemed to inspire his fellow actors so that duels crackled with energy and verisimilitude, and action seemed spontaneous rather than planned.
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