chapter  9
20 Pages

Combat Games

Games seem to be everywhere nowadays. They aren’t just for playing on the field or to be

watched on the television. Games are in our homes, on our computers, and on our phones.

They are with us everywhere. Why the fascination? Why play games? The first and I hope

most obvious answer is that games are fun. Or at least they should be fun. But why talk

about games in the context of violence for stage and film? Is not everything pre-planned and

choreographed much like the lines that the performers say? In this way fight choreography

is not dissimilar to learning the lines of the script. The performer knows what words to say

and what movements to do weeks before a performance. Hopefully he or she has practiced

and rehearsed these exact words and movements many times. However, particularly in the

case of live theatre, sometimes things do not go as planned. The rehearsed words or moves

do not happen as intended. Most performers have the training to cover or improvise when

this happens with words. But what about when it happens with fight choreography? If

the performers are only versed in the exact moves of the altercation and not necessarily the

concepts behind them, any interruption to the flow of the choreography will most likely grind

to a halt. There will be no improvising because the performers do not have the training or

the skill to adjust. This grinds not only the fight but also the entire production to a halt. This

cannot happen. The show, as someone once famously said, must go on.