A writer utilises violence, like song or dance, in moments where the story requires more than just words. But addressing how the violence will be staged tends either to be neglected or utterly gratuitous, both of which serve to separate the audience from the story and kill the whole venture. The answer rests in approaching violence the same way we do scenework. The plays of William Shakespeare seek to engage audiences with all of the characters’ blood, tears, sweat, and guts. These works are not flowery poems meant to be mumbled in a classroom, or histrionically declaimed in frilly costumes. There is nothing light and fluffy about 'rape' and 'murder’s rages', or 'carving' someone as a dish fit for the gods, or fighting till from one’s bones one’s 'flesh be hacked'. Making matters more complicated is the ambiguity and sometimes even complete lack of stage directions. Modern texts typically possess clear directions whenever violence is to occur in the action, but playscripts were quite different four centuries ago. Such denotations were both rare and inconsistent in Elizabethan and Jacobean printings. The potential violence we will examine is not appropriate for all productions or scene partners. We’re here to question and inspire rather than provide catch-all solutions. Actors, directors, fight directors, and intimacy consultants must work together to find the most effective way for their production to communicate the playwright’s story to the audience.
"...I’m strongly of the opinion that fight directors will find this an effective and efficient tool; that any actor’s or producer’s library will benefit from this extremely useful volume; and that, I would go so far as to say it will be indispensable for directors, even if only for the provocations it will provide." ~Philip d'Orléans, Equity Registered Fight Director, BASSC Fight Examiner and RADA Stage Combat Instructor