This Friday’s question comes from reader Alyson:
I recently rewatched Frasier - great show, even better than I remembered. I'm curious about the fencing scene in "An Affair to Forget" from season 2. Awhile back, you wrote a nice post about Jane Leeves and how she learned how to shoot pool for an episode. So my question is: We all know David Hyde Pierce is a great physical comedian. Did he learn how to fence for that episode, did he already know, or was he just winging it?
Not knowing the answer to this I asked someone who does – David Hyde Pierce. Alyson, here is his response:
As I recall, the writers asked me about my fencing experience before they wrote the episode. I’d been trained in stage combat by a guy named B.H. Barry, and I’d done two big sword fights for B.H., one in Cyrano and one in Kevin Kline’s Hamlet. ( In each case I both fought with and understudied the lead, which meant I had to learn both sides of the fight So, theoretically I could challenge myself to a duel and lose.) Coincidentally the actor who played Maris’ fencing instructor had also trained with B.H., so since we spoke the same language fencing-wise, we were able to learn a fairly elaborate fight in a relatively short time.
Hope that’s helpful. Happy Summer,
Many thanks to David Hyde Pierce along with David Lee.
The episode was directed by Philip Charles MacKenzie and the script by Anne Flett-Giordano & Chuck Ranberg won the Emmy that year for writing, beating out the more famous “Matchmaker” episode.
Here’s the actual scene. What’s your question?