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Fight choreographer helps bring “Narnia” to life at PJC

Published or Revised March 10, 2017

Fight choreography

At top, Edmund, played by Connor Rogers, is captured with a whip wielded by Lead Dwarf, played by Candace Weist, as they rehearse a scene where Edmund first meets the White Witch. Shown from left are Heather Collins, Morgan Pullins, and fight choreographer Orion Couling. Below, the cast of “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe” prepares to rehearse one of two big fight scenes under the tutelage of fight choreographer Orion Couling (shown at right).

After spending a week working with actors of all ages in the Ray E. Karrer Theater at Paris Junior College, nationally recognized instructor Orion Couling had great praise for their talent. The fight choreographer was working with the cast for the upcoming PJC production, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.”

“We had him last year to do ‘Star Wars of the Roses’ and our students were inspired by him and learned a lot from him,” said PJC drama instructor and play director Robyn Huizinga. “The cast has really enjoyed it. Our youngest cast member is about 6 or 7 years old and the oldest cast member is in his 60’s and everbody has had a blast working with Orion.

“What we learned here will be part of the show with two big battles between Good and Evil - the White Witch and her forces and Aslan the Lion and the Pevensie children and their forces, as well as several small skirmish battles with one-on-one combat that are really exciting.”

Under Dueling Arts International and his own company, EDGE of Orion, Couling has taught in countless workshops and has been the fight director of over 50 professional productions.

“I always enjoy coming to Paris, Texas,” said Couling, “because when I get here I’m treated like I’m part of the community. I don’t feel like an outsider coming in, it feels like we’re all equals doing art here. The kids here have been working just as hard as the pros and they have an enthusiasm that is met and matched by their adult partners; I’m overwhelmed by them.

“I’m also impressed with the adult performers taking time to treat the kids with respect - they’re not treated like children, they expect competency, they expect great behavior and I think we’ve been really rewarded by that.”

Couling has directed “Treasure Island,” and was seen in “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Judas) and “Spamalot” as Arthur. His fight direction credits include: “The Bachaee,” “Titus Andronicas,” “True West,” “Les Liasons Dangereuses,” “View from the Bridge,” “In the Heart of America,” “Exit Stage Left Pursued by Bear,” “Predator the Musical,” “Treasure Island,” and “Macsith.” Orion’s career has led him from the stunt scene of China to the high seas as the Director of Programming/Sailor on Tall Ships.

“The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” will be performed in the Ray E. Karrer Theater April 6-9. For more information, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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