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Actors on Guard: A Practical Guide for the Use of the Rapier and Dagger for Stage and Screen (Dynamics and Treatment) Paperback – December 22, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0878300587 ISBN-10: 0878300589 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Dynamics and Treatment
  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878300589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878300587
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,514,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dale Anthony Girard is an award winning Fight Director with over 12 years' experience in the field. He is a senior member of the Society for American Fight Directors (SAFD), and one of only ten Fight Masters recognized by the SAFD in the United States. Mr. Girard spent five years on the faculty at the National Theatre Conservatory and is presently resident Fight Director for Yale's prestigious School of Drama and School of Music's Opera Program.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Actors On Guard" represents many years of personal research and professional experience by one of the true scholars of the art of Stage Combat, SAFD Fight Master Dale Anthony Girard. In his prologue, Mr. Girard describes stage combat as a "living, maturing art". [p.xvi] Girard's work represents another leap forward in the maturing process. The 467 pages of text that follow include a thorough handling of the safety, training, acting, and performance of the single rapier, and rapier and dagger fights for the stage and screen. These are followed by equally valuable appendices providing detailed listings of the various fight Societies, Swordcutlers and Suppliers, information on weapons maintenance and an exhaustive glossary of common swordplay terms. In limiting itself to the concerns of just these weapons, rapier and dagger, Girard has, happily, accomplished a work far too detailed to be completely illuminated in such a short format. Mr. Girard's text begins in chapter one with the maxim that unites all Fight Directors and Actor Combatants of quality . . . "Safety First!", and this theme is echoed on every page thereafter. New students of the craft often find the task of teaching their bodies the mechanics of the art an exercise in frustration when what they really want to do is fight NOW. Girard recognizes this tendency and offers a detailed argument of just why the learning of these techniques cannot be rushed. "By rushing the learning process, you miss the inherent safety of the technique through an incomplete understanding of the process". [p.5] Girard explains that the basic principles of kinesthetic learning, total body-mind learning, provide the foundation this learning process. Mr.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Isaacson on September 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
There is little I can add to the very thorough Atlanta review which follows this posting, except to say the following: the performing community has needed a book like this for a long time, and Dale Girard delivers in spades. Having had the privilege of working with Mr. Girard numerous times over the years, I can attest both to the depth of his scholarship on the subject of the sword, and to his being one of the finest teachers of staged combat extant. Combining years of the author's experience on stage, on film, and in the classroom, "Actors On Guard" is a marvelous guide to beginning rapier-play. With detailed text and copious illustrations, the book pulls off the marvelous trick of being simultaneously easily accessible and deeply comprehensive, making it an invaluable work for performers who have never touched a sword before as well as those with years of training under their belts. While no written work can ever substitute for instruction from a qualified teacher, "Actors On Guard" comes pretty darned close!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Nolan on December 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
I write this review from the standpoint of an actor and a director. I'm not a member of any sort of guild or organization of fight choreographers. However, I've had swords in my hand since I was 12 in various productions. That being said I was hired to direct The Three Musketeers without a fight choreographer. Sure, I had experience, and was very handy with a sword, but I didn't know how to teach it.

Luckily, I had this book.

The book contains a break down of each on guard stance, each parry, and each thrust including the proper names and the basic history of each. It also included extensive sections on footwork, and other moves.

What intrigued me was the history behind the fighting. For example, Girard describes the preference of Englishmen to using the blade rather than the point. This enabled me to fashion fights that would be able to delineate the English characters from the French characters. I was able to choreograph several fights-and no one got hurt.

I'm sure my comments might anger those in professional organizations who might insist that I should have used a trained fight choreographer, and I would agree, had I been able to find one who would have done it for free, but since that wasn't an option. I found this book to be tremendously helpful, and I think you would as well.
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Actors on Guard: A Practical Guide for the Use of the Rapier and Dagger for Stage and Screen (Dynamics and Treatment)
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