As I do more and more stage combat work, I’ve found that it’s super useful to have a bag or kit with my stage combat supplies in it, so I can grab it and get to rehearsals! As an independent artist with a lot of commitments on my plate (directing, teaching, writing and blogging, stage combat, just to name a few!), I don’t have time to be searching around for my supplies. This way I have everything I need, all in one handy place.
This is definitely not all my stage combat items (can’t fit swords in this bag, LOL!) but it has the basics that I use the most often. Let’s see what’s inside, shall we?
The bag itself is a Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote from Thirty-One Gifts (I promise that this post is not sponsored – yes I have a lot of Thirty-One products but I purchased them all myself because they’re functional AND pretty!). There are lots of pockets on the outside that I can toss my keys, phone, snacks or water bottle into, and not have to dig through the bag to find them quickly. I got the crossed arrows embroidered on the bag so I know it’s my stage combat bag, but it doesn’t scream to the world “I AM CARRYING A WHOLE BUNCH OF WEAPONS IN HERE.” I can also repurpose the bag later, should I need it for something else. If you look closely, you’ll see I have a Mjölnir (aka Thor’s hammer) keychain on the zipper.
In the bag itself are the following items:
- A first aid kit (more details below)
- A camouflage print Zipper Pouch for training knives
- A dotted print Zipper Pouch for prop guns (bullet holes, get it?)
- Two bandanas (for tying up hair, as a makeshift holster, to wipe up sweat, cleaning rags, or to use as a sling)
- Extra socks (for sweaty feet)
- Two sets of thick shoelaces in black and brown (I have used these to tie weapons to belts, as an emergency corset tie, to hold a pad on a wound, and as a shoelace. Go figure.)
- An iPod (for filming/photographing choreography and for music for warm-ups)
- A box of business cards
- Two sets of bracers (leather wristbands) in black and brown, made for me by my mom’s friend, as well as some stage combat patches that will get sewn on my bag soon
- Two scripts – Juvie (the last show I choreographed) and A Permanent Image (a show I’m working on in the fall)
- A large notebook (for writing notes/choreography)
Let’s get into more details about the pouches in the bag. Here’s a closer look at what’s in my first aid pouch (from Weezi in London):
- Safety pins (easily accessed on the zipper)
- A safe CPR kit
- Lots of bandages
- A battery operated book light (for someone who has been through multiple power outages during shows, I always like to have an extra little light source available)
- Feminine supplies and wipes
- BioFreeze (for sore muscles)
- Facial tissues
- Pens (two blue, one red)
- Hand sanitizer
- Halls throat lozenges
- Moleskin pads
This is a simple, homemade first aid kit, so clearly it doesn’t have EVERYTHING, but in a pinch, it’s useful! (And so far [knock on wood] I haven’t had to use it.)
Let’s take a peek into my gun pouch.
I have an assortment of prop guns, varying from nice metal replicas to crappy plastic dollar store cheapos. They all fit in the dotted pouch nicely. Since I work with youth a lot, I keep the orange tips visible on the guns, unless the director requests something more realistic looking. In that case, I have a little kit at home with different paints and markers that I can use to touch up the guns. (That might be another post for the future!) You can get in a lot of trouble for possessing weapons in public (even if they are fake) so that’s another reason why I keep the orange tips visible for as long as possible.
Here’s the contents of my knife pouch:
I currently have six Cold Steel trainers, which every actor I’ve ever worked with absolutely loves. I got these ones from Reliks. Before I got the trainers, I used cheap rubber daggers from McCulloch’s, which are still decent for the price ($4 each – you get what you pay for, so I reinforce them with Gorilla Tape), and I use them a lot with my younger or more inexperienced actors. However, the Cold Steel ones are everyone’s favourite, and they frequently got fought over so I’ve been slowly building up my collection.
I also currently have an oversized prop razor from The Conchologist in there. I haven’t used it since but it’s good to have and I’m sure I’ll get some use out of it in the future – maybe I’ll get to work on a production of Sweeney Todd or something.
Even with all those items in the bag, I still have space for a pair of sneakers and a change of clothes, as well as a water bottle and deodorant. I can also easily remove a pouch if I don’t need those specific weapons at the moment.
I have a few more items to add to my bag. I want to get a tensor bandage for the first aid kit, some small scissors, some hair ties, and a folder with printouts from Shrew’d Business (they are SO useful). I’m also going to have some resumes on hand, just in case.
While this isn’t every piece of stage combat equipment I have (believe me, my collection is growing quickly!), these are my most-used items, and I’ve found it so handy to have this kit available to grab and go. It makes me feel much more professional too. 😉
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