■ BY SUE ERWIN
Three performers from The Vixen En Garde visited Boca Grande these past two weeks while they were performing at the Sarasota Medieval Fair.
The women are stage combat actresses for En Garde Entertainment in New York City.
Alicia Rodis (Atalanta), Dana Eckey (Thalassa) and Susana Montoya (Alectrona) are all actresses who live in New York City and are part of a team that performs staged combat fighting shows all around the nation. Their stage names are from Greek mythology.
The mission of the crew is to be the premier female stage fighting/performing organization in the United States and abroad, celebrating feminine strength in what has been a business dominated by male performers.
They acts are modeled after a commedia dell’arte troupe, in that each of the 11 members plays the same architectural-based character at each production.
Their performances modernize key phrases from Shakespeare’s plays like “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet” and make them entertaining for everyone.
In addition to performing in Renaissance festivals, The Vixens En Garde perform in more traditional venues. They also teach workshops and do private and corporate events.
En Garde Entertainment was founded in 2008 by artistic director/fight director David Hastings and his late wife, Alexandra, who passed away last year.
Alexandra was the original Vixen (Calypso) who wrote, directed and performed with the group.
“David is the Charlie to our Angels,” said Rodis, who is also a stunt performer and fight teacher.
At the fairs, the girls go out in teams of three and do 20-minute versions of Shakespeare’s shows.
“We play all of the men’s roles, and we bring the guys up on stage to play the female roles,” Rodis said. “We appear in our characters and challenge the audience to thumb wars and other fun things that draw them in and keep them interested.”
It was the first time the group performed in Sarasota.
They said they enjoyed their time in Boca Grande and used their time off to visit the beaches and other establishments on the island.
They plan on returning to participate in the Sarasota Medieval Fair again next season.
“I really hope the Royal Palm Players express some interest and invite them to do a local show next year – I think it would be a hoot for the community,” said Mary Anne Hastings, who hosted the actresses while they were on the island.