The Job of the Fight Captain

A Fight Captain is the Fight Director’s assistant. And since the Fight Director isn’t present for all rehearsals and isn’t around for the whole run of the show, the Fight Captain is vital in not only keeping the actor’s safe, but also keeping the integrity of the fight director’s work. The Fight Captain must know and understand not only all of the actions of the fight, but also the intentions behind them. Without the outside eye of the Fight Captain, fights can go unchecked and become sloppy and dangerous.

Fight Captain’s Responsibilities:
1. Attend all fight rehearsals
2. Help Fight Director demonstrate or choreograph the fight (if needed)
3. Record, write down, all of the choreography so that they have an accurate record of the fight(s)
4. Send copies of the written down choreography to the stage manager, director, and fight director
5. Run Fight Calls- A fight call is the time before each rehearsal where all combatants are present and each performance of the show, where the actors walk through their fights several times.

Fight Calls

1.  Fight Calls are mandatory for all performers involved in the fight(s). If Fight Captain has problems playing authority figure work with Stage manager
2. Before each Fight Call the performers and Fight Captain should walk the space and make sure everything is set correctly and that the playing space is clean- especially important in technical rehearsals when the stage crew has been working on the set.
3. The Fight Calls before performances- fights should be run:
1. ¼ speed- walked through marking falls or moves, getting it back into the body, fixing any problems
2. ½ speed- in character, though focused more on moves
3. ¾ speed- with full-acting values and lines.
*Note- During rehearsals speeds should remain slow until the performers are confident and know the choreography well enough to begin taking the pace up. The pace should be picked up gradually, not all at once.
4. Fight Calls should happen with specific costumes (shoes, capes, hats, etc.), on stage, with prop and set pieces
5. Check and maintain weapons
6. Any questions or problems that the performers have with the fight(s) should be addressed by the Fight Captain and, if needed, the Fight Captain will speak to the Fight Director about anything they, they cannot answer.
7. They should know the emergency procedures of the theatre and where the first aid kit is located

Rehearsing the Fight
1. Fights must be rehearsed early and often
2. Any fight-specific prop or costume piece (i.e. hats, shoes, boots, wigs, doublets, corsets, breeches, dresses, skirts, capes, etc) must be incorporated into rehearsals as soon as possible.
3. Rehearsals should happen on the set as soon possible and as often as possible. All fight calls during the run of the show should happen on the set.
4. Fights must be rehearsed under the lighting conditions planned for the performance well in advance of opening. Lights should not be dim or dark for any combat scenes. If fog is used at any times, that too must be rehearsed with as soon possible.
5. All relevant company members (fight captain, stage manager, and each performer) should write down the fights so it is discernable to them.
6. After a fight has been set, it should be rehearsed as often as possible. Daily if possible.
7. Make sure each performer checks their weapons before each show to make sure it is not broken, loose, or damaged. If a weapon is damaged in any way it should not be used in the fight and a substitute or replacement should be found. Never change to a different weapon without rehearsal time.

General Rules
1. Safety, Safety, Safety
2. You’re there to make your partner look good and they, you. Make sure you are a good partner
3. Take distance, make eye contact, cue the movement
4. Victim controls the stunt, always
5. The 8X10 is never to be crossed with a weapon
6. Don’t forget to breathe
7. Distance is the first line of defense
8. Always know the intention of a fight, phrase, and move