• Violence Literacy: The Fight Master, Spring 2018.


Performed Combat: Real or fake? Both and Neither.

  • University of Chicago MA Thesis

Abstract: Western Theatrical practice seems to embrace an idea that stems from how practitioners of stage combat in places like the U.S., U.K. and Canada which rhetorically and mentally frames violence into the binary distinction between “real” violence and “fake” violence. Violence represented on stage is framed, of course, as “fake violence. This hegemonic Western Theatrical view of performed violence views “real” violence as a truth that is incapable of telling a story and “fake” violence as a lie, only capable of telling a story but never being viewed as true to real life. In examining other cultural practices from the Latin American and Caribbean world, such as Brazil, Colombia, or Trinidad, we can see that this binary separation of real and fake does not exist. In these martial/performance practices, performance and martial practice exist as part of the same whole. For these martial practices, martial combat is not a truth that cannot tell a story, and  performances are not lies that cannot represent the truth but rather as presentations of truth. The performance is as real as combat, and the combat is a rich tapestry of story, culture, and communication. Being real does not negate a story and being performed does not make it a lie. The binary separation of “real” and “fake” functions as a self-imposed limitation on Western fight choreographers that gatekeeps what is “real” and “fake” combat and what kind of combat is allowed to tell stories and exist onstage.


Fight Choreography: Equity, Inclusion, and Racism: