As precautionary advice before the fighting commenced, Ben reminded the campers that they would not actually be fighting. “We’re learning how to miss and keep your partner safe. It is athletic, but it is not a sport. Everything is predetermined. No one is going to best anyone.” He warned that combat is completely dissimilar to martial arts or boxing, where opponents are trying to harm each other and win the fight. Instead, the goal of stage combat is to have the audience walk away and say that the fight looked real and intense. The job of the actor is to sell that there is danger at every moment, while all the while preventing any actual danger from happening.
The campers then partnered up to try their hands at knife fighting. All laughed as Ben unknowingly paired the campers playing Juliet and Romeo together. Today the star-crossed lovers were going to have to battle to their deaths! First, Ben asked the partners to approach each other slowly, and once they were close enough, to leap into fight stance.
Once the campers perfected those sequences, Ben distributed a dialogue of two or three lines from various Shakespeare plays to each pairing. The edition of lines from Macbeth, King Lear, and The Comedy of Errors helped the campers to place their motivation for fighting. Reciting lines in the midst of the fight brought a new passion to the choreography. Several pairs performed their short scenes for the whole group, which were thoroughly convincing after two hours of polishing. Ben praised the performers for remaining slow and safe in the heat of the moment, noting that the presence of an audience increases the temptation to speed up. The young fighters reluctantly returned their wooden knives but left the Masonic building with new skills under their belts.