'Boone' fight director working on becoming certified stage combat teacher


HARRODSBURG - Fight choreographer. Fight director. Fight captain. Henry Layton says he is all of the above.

At 27, Layton also is the second-youngest performer to be accepted in the Society of American Fight Directors' teacher training program. The one-time actor speaks enthusiastically about his road to becoming certified teacher of stage combat and, ultimately, a fight master.

"There are 10 people in the world who are fight masters," notes Layton, a Lexington resident and New Orleans native.

One of those fight masters is Drew Fracher, who used to live in Mercer County and now is in Cincinnati, Layton says.

"Drew is one of the people who is helping me become a fight director," says Layton, who is the fight director for "Daniel Boone, The Man and the Legend."


Layton met Fracher in 1996 at an audition at "Boone" and went on to work with him in additional production after the summer season closed. Layton says Fracher has been enormously influential in steering him toward attaining fight master status.

"He's my mark, if you will."

The teacher training program is held every four years. Layton was one of 12 chosen to participate, out of more than 200 applicants.

Layton worked as assistant fight captain for a production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in North Carolina before going to "Boone" as fight captain. He stayed around the Lexington area, and now is the only person in central Kentucky who does his type of work. He's been "fighting" for nine or 10 years, and been a fight director for seven years, he says. Once he becomes a certified teacher, he will consider opening a fight school in the area, Layton adds.

For "Boone," he says, he choreographs a blend of stunts and stage combat, working with a "pool of competent fighters from local actors. "You have to take into consideration what (the individual's) experience is," he notes. "Tackling a monster like 'Boone,' you learn really fast."

Layton also is a trained utility stuntman with the United Stuntman's Association, and an advanced actor/combatant with SAFD. He went to stunt school in Seattle, and attended a stage combat workshop in Las Vegas while continuing to work in theater.

"I learned what I'm really good at," Layton says of his affinity for stage combat.

He's taken his skills into the realm of video games. Layton recently went to Sweden as an actor and stuntman to perform the motion picture scenes for the video game "The Chronicles of Riddick," which stars Vin Diesel. Other video games he worked on in Sweden included "Knights of the Temple," "Ground Control" and "Battlefield II." All will be released this summer.

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