Interview: Fight Director Karl Sine

When the discussion to take on The Three Musketeers started making its way around our circles, the one name that kept popping up in leading its unique fight-centric direction, was Karl Sine.


Karl Sine is one of our aces up our sleeves (as many within our group are). A certified fight Director and Instructor with the Academy of Fight Directors Canada who, last year, took home the Betty Mitchell Award for both best actor in The Crucible and best fight Direction for The Fight or Flight Response, Karl sees human movement much like a poet sees words or a musician hears sound.


He’s attuned to it, a second nature.


We wanted to dig deeper and showcase what Karl’s experience with The Three Musketeers looked like to give you a glimpse into the world of fight directing.


What do you need to prepare yourself for such an undertaking as The Three Musketeers?

“I’ll spend HOURS going through books, the rabbit hole that is Youtube, researching ideas that are sometimes not even related to the current play.


So much becomes informative when researching body movement, I start to see patterns I hadn’t thought of and wonder how we can use it. It always surprises me where I gain inspiration. The little things become incredibly informative.”

How long does it take to choreograph a fight-focused play such as the Three Musketeers? How far in advance do you start planning?

“It truly does take a lot of effort to build a fight-focused play. It requires my actors to really push themselves. Everyday they take it to a higher-level, pushing themselves to create the most exciting of scenes.


A large amount of violence needs to be designed. What’s interesting is that a language begins to grow which gives us the words to describe our story.


My goal with The Three Musketeers was to drop the audience into an action movie, to find unique ways to still surprise them, to clarify or pinpoint moments so they know how to follow the violence.


It’s important that the action doesn’t become a general wash, white noise that distracts. The sword fights have to become informative and that’s a challenge. It takes crafting from everyone involved to define that including our sound designer, who’s creating an exciting soundtrack for us to live inside of.


It’s how we all dance together.”

You must take great pride in seeing the actors progress in their swordsmanship due to your direction, have you ever come across an instance where the student taught the master?

Currently, I have 3 students apprenticing with me, they truly are the future of stage and combat. As an Alumni of the Fight Director’s Guild, it’s an honour to apprentice, as I’m not only teaching but learning.

Is there a fight scene (in the Three Musketeers), where you beam with the pride of a Father due to its complexity ad how you brought it to life?

I’m really jazzed about the opening scene! Although, there is a fight behind the Luxembourg that I feel everyone is going to love. That piece is, in fact, still in development.


More importantly though, is watching the actors, such as Jacob Lesiuk, our Dartagan, who is already an accomplished actor, rise to the occasion. I take great pride in watching the up-and-coming actor kick ass!

Two actors. Two weapons. You have a 1-minute fight scene to choreograph. Who are they and what are their weapons?

Oh man! I would say that my weapons-of-choice would have to be a rapier, a cloak, and a dagger. As for the actors I would like to choreograph.. hmm.. Viggo Mortensen because he’s so versatile and an accomplished fighter, and Donnie Yen from Ip Man.


Now the reason I would chose those two actors specifically is because they could teach me. I’m always the student.

We hope you will join us for our rendition of The Three Musketeers this March 24 to April 18, with a preview on Thursday, March 23rd!

The Shakespeare Company and Ground Zero Theatre present
with the Generous Support of Hit & Myth Productions

The Three Musketeers


Adapted by Joanie McBrien and Dave Garrett – from the novel by Alexandre Dumas

Directed by Haysam Kadri and Karl Sine
Fight Direction by Karl Sine

March 24 – April 8, 2016