Nick Gisonde is a New York City based director, fight choreographer, fight instructor, stunt performer, actor, writer, editor and producer.
He recently wrote, directed and produced his first short film, The Lies of Truth. The Lies of Truth is a proof of content project. It is the first chapter of a larger short film based on his second screenplay, The Battle Fierce Within. He is looking to direct the short action thriller, this year.
He wrote a new translation, adapted and directed an online workshop production of Miss Julie for Endless River Arts in 2020-2021. He is currently adapting the script into a screenplay.
He directed the operas, La Traviata (Soo Opera), La Traviata and Die Zauberflöte (Bay View Music Festival), Don Giovanni and Rigoletto (South Bend Lyric Opera) and Così fan tutte (North Shore Music Festival) and the plays, Macbeth (Endless River Arts) and Pierre Corneille's El Cid, co-directed with Risa Renae Harman (The Pendragon Ensemble) both in New York.
He co-directed the SOARS opera scenes program from 2016-2019 with Sarah Stone, staging scenes from Carmen, Roméo et Juliette, Giulio Cesare, Don Giovanni, Hansel and Gretel, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Pasquale, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Così fan tutte, E'lisir d'amore, Little Women and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Nick staged Shakespeare Cabaret, a series of songs based on Shakespeare's monologues written by Emmy Award winning composer Glen Roven, accompanied with scenes from the plays, featuring soprano Risa Renae Harman and pianist Casey Robards at Central Michigan University.
Nick has coordinated fights and stunts for film, theater and opera for 30 years. He has collaborated several times with acclaimed opera director Crystal Manich on many productions as fight choreographer and stage violence consultant for Boston Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Bay View Music Festival and Opera Omnia in New York City. He staged the fights for the Off Broadway play, Beautiful Thing directed by Gary Griffin at the Cherry Lane Theater.
He was the resident fight choreographer for Bay View Music Festival 2001-2021. For Bay View, he choreographed Carmen, Die Zauberflöte, Falstaff, Così fan tutte, La Boheme, Don Giovanni, West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease and Private Lives.
He was a cast member, fight captain and assistant to fight choreographer J. Steven White for the 1998 Tony Award Winner,
A View from the Bridge, directed by Michael Mayer and starring Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney.
He performed stunts in Erik Flynn Patton's fantasy action feature film The Tower of Silence. He appeared in and coordinated the stunts and fights for the independent short action films, Just Cause and The Honey Trap. He has performed stunts and choreographed fights for live action stunt shows at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.
Acting credits include the films, 53rd Calypso starring Edward Norton, The Strawberry Girl and Helene. On stage, he appeared in many New York and regional theater productions as Rodrigo in El Cid, Posthumus Leonatus in Cymbeline, Laertes in Hamlet, Paris in Troilus and Cressida, Oberon in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Clunette in The Battle of Shallowford and Lee in True West.
He studied acting with Hank Schob (Penny Templeton Studios), Maggie Maes (The Actor's Loft), William Esper and Joel Rooks (William Esper Studios), James Tripp (The National Shakespeare Conservatory), Robert Mooney, Lisa Jacobsen and Laura Fine (The Riverside Shakespeare Academy) Joseph Siravo and Ryan Kessler.
The inspiration behind becoming a fight choreographer
At an early age I developed a strong and passionate interest in swordplay, stunts and acting. After watching movies like Excalibur, The Three Musketeers and Roman Polanski's Macbeth, I knew that this what he wanted to do with my life. I became engrossed in the study of the fights of William Hobbs, the Fight Arranger for these and many other great films. I realized Hobbs was a true visionary and a master of stage and film combat. I also enjoyed the films of Hal Needam, one of the greatest Stuntmen and action directors of all times. These two icons in the action world were the inspiration for me to pursue a career in fights and stunts.
When I began working professionally as an actor he was cast in several Shakespearian roles that required that he fight. I was very excited to be given the opportunity to swing a blade and perform intricate moves of choreography on stage. However many of the productions I was in did not have a fight choreographer so I offered to take on that responsibility. Most of the directors were more than happy to allow me to do it since they knew very little about the craft and were worried about the safety of the actors. I began my training with Joe Daly at HB Studios. A few years later, I met Dale Girard, a Fight Master with the Society of American Fight Directors and stuntman. I continued my training with him for a several years. He has been a major influence on me in my pursuit as a fight coordinator, stunt performer and stage combatant. After working with Dale, I began training with SAFD Fight Master Michael Chin at Fights 4 and most recently with SAFD Fight Director Joseph Travers at Swordplay.