Stunts? It's not all about guns and explosions... In the dynamic world of film and entertainment its important to be able to cater to diverse audiences, evoking a range of emotions from laughter to tears. One genre that has really stood the test of time is slapstick. Often misconceived as something from the past, simplistic or 'just for laughs', slapstick is a sophisticated, physical style of humour that requires impeccable timing, coordination, and, importantly, safe execution. At the International Stunt Academy, we run a short course dedicated to studying slapstick. Read on to learn why...
The History and Essence of Slapstick
Slapstick, dating back to ancient theatrical traditions, primarily relies on physical comedy. Its name derives from the "batacchio" or "slap stick," a two-piece wooden device used in Commedia dell'arte, a form of early theatre that originated in Italy in the 16th century. When used to hit an actor the two parts slapped together, produces a loud sound without causing harm. The slap stick was also an essential prop in vaudevillian acts, making exaggerated noises to amplify comedic effects.
Over time, slapstick (the genre / style, not the stick!) evolved, permeating film and television. It thrived in silent films, where actors like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Laurel & Hardy magnified their physical performances to communicate humour without the need for words.
The relevance of Slapstick to Stunt Work
So, why is this comedic genre important to stunt performers?
Modern Films Infused with Slapstick
Slapstick is not only still an active genre, it's actually still generating significant revenue. Surprised? You shouldn't be.
These films underscore the fact that slapstick remains an influential and beloved genre, even in contemporary cinema. The physical humor, though evolving, continues to captivate audiences, ensuring that the tradition of slapstick will likely remain a staple in movies for years to come. As stunt performers and enthusiasts, it's imperative to recognise and appreciate the craft behind such comedic masterpieces, knowing the precision and skill required to pull them off safely and effectively.
A Week of Immersion at The International Stunt Academy
So why do we run a short course on this? The answer lies in the genre's surprising complexity.
At the International Stunt Academy, we pride ourselves on our holistic approach to stunt training, and our week of slapstick is a testament to our commitment to excellence. Whether you're a fan, a budding performer, or a seasoned pro, there's always something new to learn from the timeless art of slapstick. So come join us for the next workshop and let's see if you've got the skills to deliver what's actually a far more technical act than many realise...
This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team