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Fight Directing for the Theatre Paperback – June 17, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This unique book provides a comprehensive guide to directing theatrical fight scenes, including sword play, duels, gun and knife fights, and comedy fights. Other topics covered extensively include fight choreography, safety issues, and how to die on stage. The author has been a professional fight director in New York City for over 20 years, working in theater, film, and television, and has taught the techniques of fight directing throughout the country. A history of stage fighting and glossary of fight terms add to the value and interest of this publication. This useful resource for theater directors and actors is recommended for large theater arts collections.?Howard E. Miller, M.L.S., St. Louis
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann Drama; 2nd edition (June 17, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 043508674X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435086749
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,851,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
Mr. Suddeth's book is a must have for any actor, director, designer, playwright or stage manager.
Brian LeTraunik
Best of all, he offers numerous approaches to comabt choreography and encourages the reader discover what works best for him/herself.
Laurie Miller
I bought Mr. Suddeth's book a year or so ago simply looking for some pointers on choreographing a fight.
Robb Hunter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
I bought Allen's book two years ago as an actor/stage-combatant and referrred to it in my first fight directing work last year. The book is a valuable tool as an actor, stage combatant or in any capacity within the theater. Allen's book will bring in an insightful, realistic and enjoyable look at what is stage-combat.
The art of fight-directing is as valuable to staged violence as a dance choreographer is to dance, as music-directing to musicals (choreographers and music-directors should also read the book).
Allen, kudos for such a great piece of reading and research material.
Get out there and buy this book!!
Ray Rodriguez
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Greene on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent guide to what the Society of American Fight Directors preach--Safety! Fight Master Suddeth details the many traps and common practices that put actors in harms way, then shows us the safe alternatives. It is a guide that should be kept in every theater as a reference for actors, stage managers, directors, etc. It doesn't pretend to teach you how to direct fights--this only comes with intense training--but rather teach you how to protect yourself and fellow artists. Included are details of weaponry and how to maintain them, tips, pointers, tricks, etc.
With decades of experience under his belt, this book is an extremely valuable tool if you are participating in any form of staged violence. Don't leave your safety to trial & error.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robb Hunter on November 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought Mr. Suddeth's book a year or so ago simply looking for some pointers on choreographing a fight. What I found was an invaluable guide to directing, not just a fight, but the entire scene in which it was contained. I also found that FDftT had much to offer for experienced fight directors and novice stage combatants alike. The language was clear, the writing engaging and the content comprehensive. The issues addressed in this book transcend the mere basics of staged violence and focus instead on the scene and its integral relationship with the fight. If you are looking to "brush-up" on stage combat technique I would suggest that you get out and enroll in a stage combat class, not try to hone a hard earned skill by reading a book. If you are looking for insights on how to go about safely and effeciently directing a scene or play that contains staged violence, put up your feet, relax and open Fight Directing for the Theatre by J. Allen Suddeth.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
Mr. Suddeth's work serves as an excellent companion piece to William Hobbs' "Fight Direction". The emphasis here is not on the physical technology of stage combat (go to the gym!) but on the creative process of designing, staging, rehearsing and maintaining safe and effective fight sequences. Mr. Suddeth describes the entire process with wisdom, clarity and humour: his book deserves a place on every performing arts book shelf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am only on page 100, and I am already inspired to direct again. I have directed several fights, all without using an exact formula or precise method. This book has given me the formula and the method which, I am sure, will have a positive impact on my fights. Anyone remotely interested in fight directing, directing, producing, or acting on the stage must read this book. It supplies the tools necessary for safe and efective combat, and that's just in the first 100 pages!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
For those of us who practice the art of theatrical mayhem, with a side order of swashing and buckling, this is an invaluable resource. You will read about safety measures or techniques you hadn't thought of before; you may get a great idea for your next piece of choreography (borrowing a great idea shows you have good artistic judgement) or you may simply reinforce some of the combat wisdom you have assimilated over various workshops and productions.
Suddeth speaks plainly, to the point and makes major emphasis of safety issues. A great fight is not a great fight unless it is safe and repeatable, within the abilities of the performers. Don't choreograph beyond their physical talents or you may end up with real violence on stage instead of the illusory type you are working hard to create.
This is a terrific reference manual for all of us who strive to create credible, safe fight sequences for the stage. This is an easy read and well thought out. He takes you through the logic of the Fight Director's job, working styles, weapons history, all the while letting us know this is more fun than a barrel of rapiers.
I highly recommend this book. Buy it, or I'll punch you! (Safely, of course).
Paul Ugalde
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Heinlein on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Fight Directing" is a great resource for directors and acting teachers. When directors ask me about a combat resource I tell them to pick up this book and a copy of Swashbuckling.
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Format: Paperback
Safety first and always. It is choreography, not a REAL fight. As such there is an arc to the fight. In several easily understandable examples, Suddeth shows how to build the fight: whether one-on-one or a melee. I find this book a valuable tool.

I especially found this book useful in explaining to directors and producers what is needed, the time required to construct safe fights that look dangerous. The directors I have worked with have more respect for what is needed: time, training, and much rehearsal! They beginning fight rehearsals earlier in the process, instead of trying to just work them in at the end.

His recipes for, and examples of how to use, stage blood and construct different blood delivery systems are extremely useful.

Just a reminder - this book is not an instruction book on how to be a stage combatant. That should be taught, in person, by professionals.
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