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The history 308579_275102345845112_1000168015_nof staged fights and mock combat can be traced to the very origins of the human species with the display of hunting stories told around the fire. As we go through history we have jousts, fencing displays, cinematic fencing and martial arts movies just to name a few. Operas, plays and movies have grown in their trends for the showing of violence and audiences’ tastes and critical eyes have created a greater need for well staged and executed fights.

This is where Fight Call, LLC comes in.  Established in 2006, Fight Call, LLC is a business that offers professional stage combat education and Fight Direction.  So, what exactly is Fight Direction?  It is a staging a story of choreographed violence between characters where the actors remain safe and the violence appears real to the audience. The safety of the actors as well as the audience is of utmost importance, no one should get hurt in staged violence.  And the fight must not only look believable to the audience, it must also show the relationship between the characters, their reasons for fighting, who they are as people, and any number of other pieces of a story.  Badly staged combat can hurt a show. Many times right in a truly climatic, dramatic point of a story there is some type of violence. When the violence looks fake or dangerous to the actors instead of the characters, the result can be laughter or a withdrawal of the audience from the world that has been created.

A variety of weapons and stories are a part of Fight Direction. An opera or play could call for a sword fight, a gunshot, a slap, a fall, a hanging… The Fight Director must be prepared for a variety of weapons requirements, various skill levels in the performers, a variety of venues, and directors with great ideas, bad ideas or no ideas at all.

Fight Call, LLC is thrilled to be a part of the upcoming season at Arizona Opera by providing Fight Direction for the production of Otello.  In this tale of jealousy and conspiracy there are several exciting pieces of violence, including a sword fight, a murder by suffocation, and a suicide.  This will be Fight Call’s first production with Arizona Opera and the production team has already been busy at work on the collaboration.

Owner and sole proprietor, Andrea Robertson, has over fifteen years experience in stage combat and began Fight Call, LLC to promote her passion and share it with others. She earned both her Master of Fine Arts in Directing and her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Music at Western Illinois University. She is an Associate Instructor and Member Representative of Dueling Arts International as well as a Recognized Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors trained and current in eight weapons.  Andrea has worked professionally as a fight director, choreographing such theatre shows as The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Othello as well as several independent films. Besides working as a Fight Director, Actor, and Director; Andrea teaches as an adjunct professor of Theatre and Film at PVCC.  Her favorite classes to teach are the ones in stage combat!

Fight Call, LLC was named after a crucial part of the fight rehearsal process.  A fight call, according to the dictionary is: “the scheduled meeting during which actors practice stage combat.This event takes place onstage an hour or more before the show begins. Actors will often practice their fight moves in slow motion, then up to actual speed.” The name of the company is also a play on words- when you need a fight call who will you call?  Fight Call!   To find out more about Stage Combat and Fight Call, LLC go to www.fightcall.com

Photo credit: Tim Trumble, Arizona Opera