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How do you begin pursuing a career in the entertainment world as a stuntperson? A good source to consult is Ebony De La Haye. She began with a love and passion for athletic water events and has channeled her abilities into both live action entertainment and feature films. For this Australian, it’s about doing what you love and challenging yourself. She has been competing for massive sized audiences almost her entire life. Beginning her skiing career while still in the single digits, she can boast that her skills have taken her to numerous continents and the most exotic of locations to perform for people of all backgrounds. Her lead role as Mantis in the “Jim Pond H2O: Mission Mantis Show” at Holiday Park Germany was an early indicator that she had both the talent and charisma to focus the attention of crowds which numbered in the thousands. The language of action is universal and no matter where Ebony performs in the world, she is well spoken. That’s not to say that she doesn’t have Multilanguage skills, because she does. Ebony De La Haye is a talented and driven performer; her resume and it’s increasing diversity attest to this.

The action/spy/sci-fi story of the show is centered on Jim Pond (the hero), Mantis (his powerful arch enemy), and Professor Z. Mantis (played by De La Haye) has stolen the “Uridium 3DX” from Professor Z. Uridium 3DX is the only substance on Earth capable of exploding the water molecule; in the wrong hands it could deplete the worlds water supply and destroy the planet. The Professor calls upon Jim Pond to track down the stolen substance and in doing so he discovers that Mantis is actually his sister Sarah Pond. She was kidnapped and brainwashed years earlier by his enemy Scorch Demented. He had mistakenly believed her to be deceased and now his mission is to both regain the Uridium 3DX and somehow return his sister to her rightful state of mind. All of this takes place in an environment which allows Ebony and the rest of the cast to display their talent and skill in a water plentiful environment.

The role of Mantis gave several opportunities to De La Haye. The character was menacing and morphed into sympathetic. Throughout the transition she was highly proficient in a skill set that included: whip cracking/handling, jet skiing, fan boat driving, stunt fighting and swivel skiing. In the show mantis would have to perform multiple whip cracks of different styles which crescendoes into the final fight scene where she uses the whip as a weapon. Maintaining safe distances and being precise are paramount when using a whip, as it is not only a danger to person using it but to the other performers on stage as well. While the water based skills had long been second nature, mastery of the whip tapped into an entirely new set of abilities for Ebony. Mantis had multiple fight scenes throughout the show, mainly against the character Jim Pond. A professional stunt man and fight trainer was flown in from the US to teach basic fight skills to the cast and teach the show fight choreography. This was Ebony’s first exposure to this; her proficiency would lead to a completely new arc in her career as a film stunt woman. It’s here that she became hyper aware of dealing with danger and risk on a daily basis. She reveals, “For the show there was an approximate one-month rehearsal process. During this show it was a combination of having a good time performing with the cast and being vigilant and aware of your surroundings. In the dialogue based scenes we would have a good time interacting with each other and being in the moment. In the stunt sequences and when performing difficult waterski skills which were more physically demanding, our focus would be concentrated on the task at hand. In the scenes involving multiple watercraft or pyrotechnics it was vital to be hyper aware, focused on the safety of yourself and other performers. The most potentially dangerous part of this show were the scenes where there was multiple water craft on the water at the same time. Each watercraft would have a set pattern and timing in conjunction with the other boats on the water. Operating at high speeds, it was important to always be aware of your surroundings and where the other watercraft are, so if for some reason something changes, or someone isn’t where they should be at a given point you are able to safely react and possibly change course to avoid any danger.”

Perhaps the most unexpected challenge for a stuntperson in a live show of this nature is…the language? Yes. A native of Australia, De La Haye was not exactly fluent in her German…a common trait among this international cast. While the non-German speaking cast members lip synched the prerecorded part, they were required to actually learn the lines in German so that the realism of the production would not be challenged. Combining her exceptional talent of skills on the water with new fighting skills, learning her lines in a foreign language, and doing all of this in front of crowds of thousands, this experience required maturity at an accelerated rate. Ebony was more than adequate for the task as Holiday Park Germany Show Director Tim Snyder states, “I worked alongside Ebony in the Mission Mantis show as the director and lead male character. As the person I was the most in contact with, and often most often in combat with, I can attest to the fact that her talent is amazing. My safety and that of many of the other cast members relied on her perfect execution of a number of stunts. She worked tirelessly to perfect these for herself, for the good of everyone in the production, and for the entertainment of our crowds. Performing perfectly within the skill set she already possessed would have been impressive on its own but learning new fighting skills and doing this while delivering her dialogue in a previously unknown language to her…her efforts were Herculean. She is quite simply amazing.” Ebony confirms that it was the discipline and daily repetition which required perfection of her in the “Jim Pond H2O: Mission Mantis Show” at Holiday Park Germany show that empowered and prepared her for her role as a stunt woman in the feature films of today.

ACTION ON THE WATER WITH EBONY DE LA HAYE Reviewed by JaamZIN on 5:18:00 PM Rating: 5
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