Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
By William Kincaid
Fights have their own grace
Minster native directs film action scenes
Minster native Deanna Tangeman Roseen began dance lessons when she was 3 years old but never developed the kind of grace her older sister Becky possessed.
While studying at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, renowned for its performing arts programs, Roseen, the daughter of Mike and Lori Tangeman, enrolled in a stage combat course where she fell in love with an art she says is not that different from dancing.
The 26-year-old, 2004 graduate of Minister High School is living her dream moonlighting as an independent fight director for films and plays while holding down a full-time job as a talent agent.
"So I have just enough grace for fighting but not enough for dancing," Roseen said from her home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y., during a recent telephone interview. "Give me an action film before a chick-flick any day."
Roseen was the fight director for a seven-night run of "Romeo and Juliet" performed throughout New York City which wrapped up at the end of June.
Roseen said the production was a modern take on the beloved Shakespearean play. The director wanted unarmed, very brutal fighting scenes. In one fight, a character is knocked to the ground and has his head bashed against a sidewalk.
For the physical confrontation between characters Tybalt and Mercutio, Roseen said she wanted to show through the fighting techniques the unsurpassed skills of two of the best combatants in the world - nearly equals - as well as their unique personalities.
"I obviously read the entire play through a few times," Roseen said, adding she had acted in the play in the past.
When choreographing a scene, Roseen, a member of The Society of American Fight Directors, said she takes into account the actors' experience and, if any, past fighting scenes.
Roseen stressed the importance of actors being physically centered, which allows for freedom of movement. If they move from the chest instead of the hips, they lose much of their power, she said.
In addition to creating the moves and sequences of a fight, Roseen also directs the combat scenes.
"You try to make that clear when you go into a production before you sign on," she said about maintaining autonomy over the fight scenes. Some directors are control-freaks, she said.
Roseen, who is married to Rob Roseen of Atlanta, Ga., comes from an artistically inclined family and has been entertaining her whole life. She acted with the local Crescent Players when she was 4 and sang in choir.
"We like to take on a lot of things," she said about her family.
She didn't think about pursuing the arts as a career until high school.
With the support of her parents, she attended a two-year preparatory arts program at the University of Cincinnati on the weekends of her junior and senior year in high school.
"It was quite a commitment," she said.
After high school, she earned a degree in theatre arts with a focus in acting and a minor in music from Point Park.
Soon after graduation she moved to New York with the intention of acting. She also stayed active with The Society of American Fight Directors, attended stage combat workshops and connected with peers.
"It took a little bit of time quite honestly," she said about making connections and finding work as an independent fight director. "It's really about knowing people."
Roseen works full time as a talent agent in Brooklyn, representing and finding work for actors.
"I'm still young," she said about balancing her work as a fight director and talent agent.
To learn more about Roseen, visit her webpage at deannaroseenfights.weebly.com/index.html.
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