As all fans of Brad Pitt and David Fincher and Chuck Palahniuk know, what happens in fight club stays in fight club. But what happens in fight call is another matter. Fight call is what happens on the Beaumont stage before aMacbeth performance, usually 45 or 50 minutes before curtain.
The other day, I slipped into a front-row orchestra seat to observe this exercise, which is led by Derek Wilson, the production's fight captain as well as its Lennox. (The sequences were done by the Fight Director, Steve Rankin). Next to me was Bianca Amato, who plays Lady Macduff.
"All major physical conflicts in the play," Amato said, "have to be gone through every day. Everything potentially dangerous, that is. You never want to be too surprised by something so physical in a performance, because you haven't been over it in several days."
She had barely said this before leaping out of her seat to rehearse being murdered along with her two children. Others who were quickly dispatched pre-curtain (I hardly feel the need to scream SPOILER ALERT, because if you are reading this blog you probably have at least a glancing familiarity with the play) included Banquo (Brian d'Arcy James) and the title Thane himself (Ethan Hawke).
"I thought you killed me really well last night" Hawke said to Macduff (Daniel Sunjata) as the latter slew him in the non-full-out manner dancers and actors call "marking."
Most people pray for a quick, painless death. In fight call - but not in the onstage fights - that plea was answered.
Brendan Lemon is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of lemonwade.com