Cyranojoe Productions is Joseph Cook, a stage & film combat director based out of Pasadena, California. Joseph choreographs, directs, and teaches theatrical fighting using safety techniques based on the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), with an inclination -- and a flair -- for rapier and broadsword work.
Joseph Cook has choreographed and performed in numerous stagings of violence, from simple slapstick to 15-man Shakespearean battles, but he's been on hiatus from stage combat since finishing work with Shakespeare's "As You Like It" at the California Institute of Technology in 2005, the same year he got married and graduated from USC's prestigious Annenberg School for Communication with a Master's degree in online journalism.
Over the past five years, Joseph has pursued his "day job" and enjoyed an ongoing honeymoon with his wife while keeping in shape by training for 5K races and other activities. Joseph's 2009 resolutions include plans for a redesign of this website; he would appreciate your recommendations on local practice spaces, martial arts, and more!
NEW! Joseph has plans to return to the stage this February, as fight choreographer for the world premiere of "Pasadena Babalon".
Sangeeta Bardhan Cook is Joseph's wife and business partner. She has assisted with the administration and scheduling for Cyranojoe Productions, and is currently applying her karate techniques to the learning of stage combat.
Cyranojoe Productions is currently seeking new teaching and choreography contracts.
In the beginning... Joseph's journey towards stage combat began with Caltech's NCAA Division I fencing team. On his way to earning a captain's star and becoming a 4-year letterman in the sport, Joseph took an eight-weekend workshop with SAFD-liscenced actor/combatant Chris DuVal. From there his passion for the stage and love of the sword merged inseparably.
Over the course of TACIT's presentation of Henry V, Joseph proved so valuable to the production that he was upgraded from fight captain to co-fight director. He also choreographed and performed in the show's highlight battle betwixt himself and roommate Scott Van Essen -- axe and short sword for Joseph, short sword and long sword for Scott. (In case you're curious, Joseph won.)
After the following year's successful fight direction for Richard III (complete with ghostly interference), Joseph travelled to far-off Banff, Canada for the annual Paddy Crean International Stage Combat Workshop, where he and 30 other combatant/directors learned the finer details of rapier fighting, the techniques of Marozzo and other European masters, Zulu and Philippine stick fighting, etc.
Joseph returned from Banff a member of the International Order of the Sword and Pen (IOSP) and bearing numerous ideas which he soon applied to TACIT's production of Othello. Group brawls, rapier and dagger, rapier and cape, stabbings and good old-fashioned beatings were the order of the day!
Since then, Joseph has choreographed several more fights for TACIT, including a wild fisticuffs tussle between comic heroes for "Loves Labours Lost"; a swashbuckling smallsword duel and a mismatched wrestling match for "12th Night"; and a tremendous fight to the finish between two accomplished warriors for "Macbeth".
How it works: Asking What would you do next? while keeping in mind the motivations of the characters and the play results in a natural, realistic violence that grabs audiences and doesn't let go -- see our press clippings to learn more. You can also see Joseph's resume and LinkedIn profile to discover more about his performance history.
Cyranojoe Productions has also assisted TACIT with a few small fight sequences for prospective students and club fairs, and directed and performed in the 1998 Lloyd House movie, "Men in Gold."