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1. Improvisation for Actors and Writers:
2. Comedy Improvisation: Exercises
3. Improv Comedy
4. The Ultimate Improv Book: A Complete
5. Truth in Comedy: The Manual of
6. Long-Form Improvisation &
7. Group Improvisation: The Manual
8. Inside Tap: Technique and Improvisation
9. So You Think You're Funny?: A
10. Whose Improv Is It Anyway? Beyond
11. The Second City Almanac of Improvisation
12. There's No I in Improv: The complete
13. The Art of Chicago Improv: Short
14. The Art of Comedy: Getting Serious
15. Curriculum, Training Methods,
16. The Compass
17. Improv Handbook: The Ultimate
18. Playing Commedia: A Training Guide
19. Comedy for Real Life: A Guide
20. The Compass: The Improvisational

1. Improvisation for Actors and Writers: A Guidebook for Improv Lessons in Comedy
by Bill Lynn
Paperback: 192 Pages (2004-04-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566080940
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Far more than simply an overview of improv comedy, this book helps actors, writers and comedians learn the basics as taught in all the major comedy schools. First, the do'sand don'ts of the Comedy Improv Commandments. The concepts that, when understood, hit the student like falling anvils: Anvil 1: Collaboration -- Working with the 'Group Mind', Anvil 2: Agreement -- 'Just say Yes', Anvil 3: Foundation -- 'Who, What and Where", Anvil 4: Exploring -- 'Finding the Game'. Successful improv requires the skill of the actor, the talent of the comedian and the ideas of the writer rolled into one. This book tells how it can all be done for performers or teachers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good overview for budding comedians in the art of improv
A good short book that provides ample exercises to help individuals interested in the art of improv.

4-0 out of 5 stars great overall description of U.S. schools of improv
I am bi-coastal and have wound up taking classes at the Groundlings, UCB, and several smaller unknown venues. I felt I didn't really need this book (it was a gift), but after reading it, I felt my views on the different improv homes I've become a part of had come into better focus, via the perspective offered by the knowledge of the other schools of improv thought I had not yet been a part of. And the ones I didn't know in depth seemed much more accessible.

Bill Lynn's book (and Kip King's, though I suspect he was more of an "idea man" than an actual sit-down-and-write-it author) is basically a list and explanation of the different games and styles of teaching the different schools of improv across the country have to offer. He does not espouse a new take on improv or performance, nor does he pretend to. As if anyone's going to top Del Close, Viola Spolin, or Keith Johnstone. Or Dario Fo for that matter.

It is a useful, well written guide to what other people have already created in the improv world, and it purports to be nothing more. It includes some useful info on the Groundlings, Second City, Improv Olympic, etc....and some lesser known teachers like Stan Wells who works at a place called the Empty Stage, which I have since checked out, taken classes at, and found to be an great skill-sharpening experience, in conjunction with my other classes/shows.

If you're looking for new or bar-setting ideas on what improv is/should be (as some confused readers clearly have done), this is not the book for you; Viola Spolin's work is your next stop in that case, but if you're shopping around for your next stint at an improv school, this is your book.

Goes by quickly too. Clean, simple prose.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ho Hum
This is my edited review -

Upon my initial reading of this book, I was confused. The book announces "Groundlings Theater" on the front, has a foreword by a Groundlings' teacher, offers a fairly complete review of SEVERAL improv schools, as well as the author's time as a student.

Considering this, I don't think I was wrong to think this was a book about the Groundlings' theory of improv, or at the very least produced with the approval and collaboration of the Groundlings; I've been told that I was wrong.

Needless to say, in my confusion, I was more harsh on this book than I should have been. THAT review is appended below.

That said, taking the book as I've been told I should take it - an introduction to improv for the beginning student - it's not bad, it's not great.

In terms of improv, Bill Lynn offers up a survey of a pretty traditional improv education, and fleshes it out by including his own observations as a student. This is both refreshing and irritating. Considering how many improv books - and books about theater in general - speak narrowly and from a 'learned teacher' perspective, it's nice to have something with the broad focus that a student's eyes offer of technique and theory. Unfortunately, it has also limited the author's ability to analyse and prioritize his lessons - too often it reads like the student was given notes, and in turn he's published them for us verbatim.

His sections on character development and sketchwriting are practical, and he deserves kudos for not over-writing (hence, over-simplifying) his brief section on long-form improvisation. For any student of improv, it's complicated enough to deserve a book of its own. The author dealt with it quickly and quietly.

At times, the author demonstrates a lack of experience and nuance (for instance, his approach with the "Commandments" of improvisation - mostly a list of "Don't Do this" is a teaching method that fell out of favor in improv schools years ago), but for the precocious beginning student or the novice without the time/money to take classes, this book is a fine accessory.

Below is my original post.

An uninspiring introduction to Short Form improv. You'd do as much to watch a few seasons of "Whose Line." Countless books have been written listing improv games and exercises, and this latest book by Mr. Lynn is unfortunately yet another in the stack.

This book would be more forgettable (and certainly wouldn't inspire this rant) if it left out two points: One, its bold ties to the Groundlings improv school, and its introduction by Kip King.

For those who have studied improvisation, there are several venerated schools and several philosophies. Many of these schools have published books heavy with their respective theories - With "The Second City Almanac," we see Second City. "Truth in Comedy" gives us the Improv Olympic and Del Close. "Impro" & "Impro for Storytellers" are Johnstone's Loose Moose Theater and "Improvise" is from Napier of the Annoyance Theater.

Lynn's book purports itself to be THE book of Groundlings improvisation. Or, perhaps I'm misinterpreting the reason he had "Kip King of the Groundlings theater" listed on the front.

Kip King is the father of Chris Kattan, and one of the founders of the Groundlings. "Ah," thinks the reader, "with his endorsement, surely this Lynn fellow must know what he's talking about." Well, who is Bill Lynn? Frankly, I have no idea. I can't search a single bit of information about him. However, and perhaps I'm overreading into it, his book seems to imply he took classes at the Groundlings school last year and took really good notes.

That's it.

Sadly, it gives us nothing newer than Spolin, no more challenge than an "intro" class from any of the schools. I, for one, was looking forward to finally reading up on the Groundlings. Don't look to this book for that.

5-0 out of 5 stars A complete handbook for the aspiring improv actor
Improvisation For Actors And Writers: A Guidebook For Improv Lessons In Comedy by Bill Lynn is a complete handbook for the aspiring improv actor and organized into five specific sections: Comedy Schools; Improv Comedy Basics; Developing Comic Characters; Long Form Improv; and Writing Sketch Comedy. This informed and informative "how to" manual is enhanced with an extensive appendix of improv exercises. Improvisation For Actors And Writers is a clearly valuable addition to theatre department reference collections and "must" reading for anyone who has an interest in writing or performing improv on the stage or for television.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maria, "Second City" conservatory alumni
This book is pretty good. It's more "Groundlings" than "Second City" Chris Kattan's father, Kip King an orginal Groundling wrote the preface. It is helpful that this book is from a students eye view. I went through both programs and used the book as a tool to guide me through the process. It helped with technique and sketch writing. ... Read more

2. Comedy Improvisation: Exercises and Technique for Young Actors
by Delton T. Horn
Paperback: 144 Pages (1991-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0916260690
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Learn the structure behind the spontaneity of comedy improvisation. Includes over 35 performance-tested structures and performance tips. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Resource
I purchased this book for an Improvisation Acting course, and it has been invaluable.

The various different types and games of improv are really great. This is a wonderful resource to hang onto for life, let alone a career.

1-0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the worst book on improv ever
While I'm sure Delton T. Horn has spent a lot of time in bars performing in front of drunks, he really doesn't seem to have a true grasp of the theatrical convention of improvisation.This book was a total waste of time and money.

If you really are interested in the art of improvisation, buy "Truth in Comedy", "Impro for Storytellers", or "Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out".

3-0 out of 5 stars Imperfect Primer for Beginning Players
As the title of this book suggests, it is intended to provide "Exercises and Technique for Young Actors." Everyone begins somewhere. Heaven knows I certainly did. However, if this book is all a young improv team uses to glean knowledge of the art, they will be sorely disappointed.

The book begins with a lengthy explication of what improv comedy is and why it's important, but fails to stress important points like why it's bad to force a joke, or how to constitute a themed show. The author also warns young performers away from doing full shows of improv on the grounds that it would be too overwhelming for audiences. I've never heard such a thing.

Most of the space in this book dedicated to exercises focuses on work for beginners, such as the mirror exercise. Granted, improv doyenne Viola Spolin, in the third edition of her classic "Improvisation for the Theatre," lists eleven different kinds of mirror exercise. However, each of Spolin's exercises is concise and straightforward, while Horn rambles on about why the exercise is important and how it's done correctly. Besides, compare Spolin's 416-page textbook to Horn's 144-page primer, and see which is allocating space most effectively.

Horn also gives time and space to how to form a group, find work, secure good contracts, and protect copyright. These are all important issues for young performers, especially young performers who want to get paid for their work; but this takes away copy space from the specific how-to of performance. This is really meat for a separate book. Besides, young performers don't need to be told how to form groups, they'll partner up as skills develop and similar tastes and abilities become evident. The copyright information, moreover, is a decade out of date, and vague even when it was written.

This book is not worthless. That must be stressed. Young performers who want to play at parties or for family and friends will be served well by this information, spare though it is. Too much more detail might overwhelm young performers with light goals and no outside mentor.

However, as performers begin to seek outside their limited experience to deepen their performances, or as they seek professional work or recognition, this book will fail to suit their needs, and they will have to go to other resources if they don't want to have to go it alone. Good books like "Truth in Comedy" or "Improvisation for the Theatre" are more highly recommended for those who want to stick with this art over the long haul.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not for serious improvisers
As "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" becomes more popular, and more improv groups begin performing in high schools and colleges and bars, it's discouraging to think that many new performers will turn to books like this for guidance. Horn's guidelines promote gimmicky, self-serving, impatient, one-dimensional scenework. Audiences are better served by troupes who look to Spolin's "Improvisation for the Theatre," Johnstone's "Impro," Close & Halpern's "Truth In Comedy," and Napier's "Improvise!" for inspiration. The actors on "Whose Line?" only make it look easy-they've worked hard to get there. "Comedy Improvisation" is for troupes who's highest goal is to play for friends in a bar--not those who take making people laugh seriously.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for any comedian
A super book for anyonw wanting to get started in stand-up or even wanting to make every-day things a bit more funny.I reccomend it to anyone. ... Read more

3. Improv Comedy
by Andy Goldberg
Paperback: 200 Pages (1992-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0573606080
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Presents the building blocks of an improv comedy -- characterisation, plot and environment -- an extensive series of progressive scene set-ups and exercises, and practical advice on forming and running an improv comedy troupe. Improv Comedy is a definitive course in the practice of this popular theatre genre, as well as a valuable text for writers wishing to study the basics of controlled spontaneity as a path to believable humour. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent and approachable manual of comedy improvisation
This is an excellent manual for any improviser, no matter what level of experience he or she may have.The book is broken down into four sections:

1. An Introduction

2. The Elements

3. The Performance

4. Workshop

The first section goes into the language of improv, which describes the breakdown of the scene.Character, environment, and plot are discussed in detail, as are sub-elements such as activity, attitude, conflict, specifics, point of view, and dialogue.The importance of beginning, middle, and end is covered, as is the importance of being specific.Then the four basic rules are broached: don't deny; show us, don't tell us; play the moment, and play the scene legitimately.And despite what the other reviews have erroneously suggested, the author specifically states NOT to say one-liners or make jokes.Mr. Goldberg also suggests learning from others.

Without spoiling the Elements section of the book, suffice it to say that this book goes into detail about the elements of improv, CHARACTER, ENVIRONMENT, & PLOT with equal attention to detail.

The Performance section goes into practical topics such as: Assembling a Troupe, Who's In Charge, Ensemble Playing, Workshopping, The Show Structure: Pacing and Variety, What To Ask For in a Suggestion, Is It All Right To Turn Down a Scene Suggestion?, The Huddle, Lighting, Music and Sound Effects, Is It Ever the Audience's Fault?, Leave Your Worries at the Doorstep, How Much of an Improv Show Is Improvised, and Originality.

The Workshop section discusses: Getting Started, The Order and Choice of Exercises and Scene Setups, and a Glossary of Workshop Terms.It then goes on to describe 83 improv games!

Now there is nothing wrong with Viola Spolin's works; they form the backbone of improv in the U.S.A.But this book is detailed without being overbearing about it; it's totally readable and fascinating to those who do improv...and even those who don't.Even if you are just a fan, you will find this book a page-turner.

And Andy knows what he's talking about: he's been doing improv for over thirty years; he has his own improv troupe, OFF THE WALL, who still perform monthly in Santa Monica.He's worked closely with Robin Williams (they were in the same improv troupe together), John Ritter, Corbin Bernsen, etc., as well as countless producers and working actors.

This book is the real work, forged from many years of experience teaching improv from a true professional.Buy it, read it, USE it.It will pay you back many times over whether you just watch improv or do improv for fun and/or profit.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a greatbook for learning improv
If you want to learn improv I totally recommend this book. There must be dueling enemy gangs fighting it out in improv-land, because there is no way this book should be trashed like the review below.Maybe you don't think it's great, so four stars, or even three, but one star??Somethings up with those reviewers.

This is a really clear book with lots of great exercises and all the tools for building a scene and finding funny characters. They use it as a textbook in my theater department and it was one of the most fun and creative classes in the whole program.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I heartily disagree with the other reviewers.There is a lot of really good information in this book and I strongly recommend it.Great practical advice as well as some excercises and games in the back to play with others.My copy has many dog-eared pages, asterisks and highlited sections. Buy it, read it, learn it!

1-0 out of 5 stars Boo.
Worthless piece of crap. This guy doesn't know jack.

1-0 out of 5 stars If you want to learn about improv... DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!
What a complete waste of time and money.The author may have been teaching since 1978, but what he's been teaching, I don't know.It certainly isn't improv.I would be horrified to see a group perform after they studied this material.

If you want to learn about improvisation,I would suggest Halpern's "Truth in Comedy" or Kozlowski's "The Art of Chicago Improv:Short Cuts to Long-Form Improvisation." ... Read more

4. The Ultimate Improv Book: A Complete Guide to Comedy Improvisation
by Edward J. Nevraumont, Nicholas P. Hanson, Kurt Smeaton
Paperback: 272 Pages (2002-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566080754
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A complete improvisation curriculum in twenty-four class-length units. This comprehensive resource who shows the who, what, when, why and how of comedy improvisation. Main topics: What is improv?; Improvisational skills; Structuring; Strategies; How to start your own improvisation team. Includes many games and exercises. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars This is a good book if you were 16
I'd recommend the Del Close book if you want a good read on improv. This is for kids

5-0 out of 5 stars Improvisation Instruction at its best
This is the best improvisation book I have come across because it actually has instruction and rules about improvisation.It's not just a list of improv situations and games - it's a real "how-to" and "why" and "what appeals to an audience" book.I teach improvisation and even though other books are great resources, this one is a front runner just because of its instruction aspect of the whole concept of Improvisation.

5-0 out of 5 stars The improv bible
ANYONE and EVERYONE involved with the Canadian improv games should own this book.Teams who are just starting out, teachers who are thinking of starting a team, and players who have been improvising for years can all benefit from the information.Great skill-developing games, lists of characteristics, genres, and so on to help teams practise, and conprehensive descriptions of each game.Outlines dos and don't of improv.I love this book more than life itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars One book that lives up to its title!
If you are interested in becoming a "player" or coach with an improv team or troupe - this book is all you will ever need. It is organized for easy action and understanding. It is almost always hands-on, explains each technique with real-life examples and never misses the mark. It is like buying a teacher's manual and includes an awesome training schedule and system for whipping any group into a great improv team. I highly recommend this book. I have used it to take 2 teams to the Canadian Improv Games national finals in Ottawa! Buy it!

3-0 out of 5 stars Who is this book for?
I had thought that this book would be a good guide for beginner or experience improvisors to improve their skills; however the book is written with advice on how to start an improv team at a high school and has a great deal of focus on competiting in the Canadian Improv Games (two areas i was just not intersted in). The chapters are very short and try to drop in every improv term without going into depth on any. The book does have a nice list of exercises and suggestions at the end, but many again focus on performating them with younger improvisors and some descriptions weren't complete enough to attempt to use them.

This book would probably be most helpful to someone who is already very familiar with improv and who wants to teach it to high school students. But for the sake of those you are teaching, seek out more complete references like those by Viola Spolin. ... Read more

5. Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation
by Charna Halpern, Del Close, Kim Johnson
Paperback: 150 Pages (1994-04)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566080037
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The 'Harold', an innovative improvisational tool, helped many actors on the road to TV and film stardom, including George Wendt (Norm on Cheers). Now it is described fully in this new book for would-be actors and comics. The 'Harold' is a form of competitive improv involving 6 or 7 players. They take a theme suggestion from the audience and 'free associate' on the theme into a series of rapid-fire one-liners that build into totally unpredictable skits with hilarious results. The 'Harold' is a fun way to 'loosen up' and learn to think quickly, build continuity, develop characterisations and sharpen humour.Amazon.com Review
Who would have ever thought that learning the finer points of improvisation could be suchfun? The "Harold," an innovative improvisational tool, helped Saturday Night Live's Mike Myersand Chris Farley, George Wendt (Norm on "Cheers") and many other actors on the road to TV andfilm stardom. Now it is described fully in this new book for the benefit of other would-be actors andcomics. The "Harold" is a form of competitive improv involving six or seven players. They take atheme suggestion from the audience and free-associate on the theme, creating a series of rapid-fireone-liners that build into totally unpredictable skits with hilarious results. The teams compete withscoring based on applause. The "Harold" is a fun way to "loosen up" and learn to think quickly, buildcontinuity, develop characterizations and sharpen humor. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Two Books On Improv? This is one of them.
Viola Spolin wrote down the rule book, but Del Close and Charna Halpern make improv an independent field of study and teach people how to use it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Truth in comedy
Having a bit of trouble wading through the issue of how much better this method is than any other form of improv on the planet.Gets very old, and makes me want to put the book down, which is finally what I did.Can't imagine why it is necessary to continually informthe reader of the value of the stylistic differences, and the superiority of this method.Didn't Shakespeare have something to say about this need?

5-0 out of 5 stars Changed the way I thought about improv
While Truth In Comedy is certainly not your usual "how to" book, the essential task this book accomplishes is revolutionizing how you view improvisation. Some may call the book a tad pretentious in terms of its wording and how many times the names of famous I.O alumni are dropped, but at is core, the book truly will change the way you think about a scene. Taking a truly philosophical approach, Truth in Comedy manages to integrate helpful tips with concise and essay like paragraphs on the nature of improv. If you take the time to really think about what Close says in the book, the tips don't feel like tips but instead become the natural thing to do. As a bit of a strange follow up to this book I read The Art of Dramatic Writing. Anyone truly interested in the nature of improvisation should read about and then compare. The connections will be easy to follow once you have read both books and will change the way you think of the term moment to moment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful
Insightful.Covers lots of basics and inspires me to be a better improv actor!

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful for students, but kind of nutty
The entire book could probably be boiled down to a few xerox-able handouts, but the examples of successful games and scenes were very helpful for someone trying to get a handle on the basic "Harold" form of improvisation.

Charna Halpern weirds me out a little bit when she starts talking seriously about intense mental connections between improvisers that allow them to see into the future and even manifest human beings. ... Read more

6. Long-Form Improvisation & The Art Of Zen: A Manual For Advanced Performers
by Jason Chin
Paperback: 60 Pages (2009-01-09)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$7.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0595471986
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
If you're already an improviser, even if you're just starting out, this is the book for you. This book merges basic improvisation techniques with Zen philosophy in order to create a new way of performing scenes and shows. Based on decades of work with the art form, Jason R. Chin strips away pretense and creates a simple, yet elegant method of improvising longer, more rich scenes and characters. A powerful tool for the advanced improviser and a wonderful book for the beginner, Zen and the Art of Long-form Improvisation is a welcome addition to your improv library. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet
As a teacher of theatre and improv myself (and someone who has read well over 20 books devoted to improv short and long form) I really like the approach this author has taken to long-form improv. Instead of over complicating it, he distills it into essentially 4 "Prime Directives" and then explains how to apply these to long form. He also applies some of the concepts of Zen and martial arts to the art form in a surprisingly convincing way. In addition he gives advice to those people who might fill the role of coach or director for an improv team/cast and how to approach that role. This book is only 55 pages long and is a really quick read, but it is also packed with great ideas and is well written. Well worth the $10 he is charging for the book. ... Read more

7. Group Improvisation: The Manual of Ensemble Improv Games
by Peter Gwinn
Paperback: 137 Pages (2007-09-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566081386
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Who would have thought that participating in group improvisation could be so enlightening and rewarding! Peter Gwinn has developed The Group Mind at Improv Olympic in Chicago to create a new awareness in the mind and spirit of acting students and professionals. Over forty improvisation games are included for developing group chemistry: creation, bonding, dynamics, energy, focus and more. Techniques are discussed for breaking the ice, agreement, listening and support, teamwork, quick thinking and having fun! The Group Mind, the holy grail of improvisation, is created by a synergy between improvisation participants. It is like ESP. It is the feeling of being part of a greater entity, a sense of excitement, belonging, importance that takes acting skills to a new level. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars For real beginners.
I have many books on Improvisation and thought there might be something "new" in this one. I can't say I found a single "new" idea or improv that is not in a previous book. If this was the first improv book you every bought, you might find it useful- but not for anyone who has done any improv or taught improv even at the beginners level. I found the writing very immature as well. Many of the improv listed seemed to be slanted at being entertaining rather than used in creating a character/scene or working on the basics of improvisation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Group Improv Brilliant!
This book is great for teaching the support and trust actors need to perform any form of theatre...invigorating games with levels of difficulty so they can be used for most any group. I've used it for aged 7 to 18 but it is great for adults as well, especially the more challenging games. Bravo!

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice Guidance for work on Group Dynamics
Great, thorough descriptions of lots of great group warm-ups and scene exercises. It's not a vast new continent of never-before-seen improv, but it's the clearest map I've ever seen of the very tricky terrain of group dynamics, which can make or break a performance group (or any group, for that matter). Peter Gwinn writes in a fun and playful conversational tone and the accompanying retro-tastic photos of improvisers at play are, frankly, adorable. I have met folks who trained with Gwinn, and now I join them in their wish to hug him for this contribution to the craft. Gracias!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a great reference
For anyone coaching/directing or if you're playing on a team where you need to break into new territories and develop new forms, these games are a perfect start.This book explains what the important parts of each game are so that you bring the actual lessons to stagework, not just horse around and forget.I highly recommend the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Consider This an Important Addendum...
...to Charna Halpern's "Truth and Comedy."Gwinn takes an actor-centric approach to long-form improvisation, developing characters the way Del Close intended them to be.He grounds his games in terminology befitting any advanced acting technique, exploring emotion and motivation over the tricks and gimmicks synonymous with shows like "Whose Line is it Anyway?"

Gwinn has been performing and teaching at Chicago's Improv Olympic for nearly a decade, so he knows his stuff.That being said, as articulate as this book is, it should serve as a supplement, not a substitute, for first-hand experience or training in long- or short-form comedy improvisation. ... Read more

8. Inside Tap: Technique and Improvisation for Today's Tap Dancer
by Anita Feldman
Paperback: 219 Pages (1995-05-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$18.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0871271990
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This comprehensive guide to tap offers traditional and improvisational instruction for the beginner and new, innovative material for the intermediate and advanced dancer. It reviews the basics, and then progresses through creativity and musicality, rhythm, dynamics, and syncopation. Traditional steps such as the Shim Sham Shimmy are taught as well as contemporary tap. Easy-to-follow descriptions are given for each step. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book on Tap
I bought this book last year, to teach my self to tap along with Bonnie Franklin's dvd and it has been great.It is so easy to understand.I am slowly working through the step and drills.I love referring back to this and I think I will forever.It is fantastic.A great teacher reference also.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Rythm Tapping
I was trained in traditional and flash tap dancing, so I knew very little about rhythm tap.This book goes over the basics of tap and many traditional tap steps.What makes it so great, though, are the in-depthexplanations of rhythm, dynamics, syncopation, accents, and new forms oftap, including rhythm tap and orchestrated tap.The explanations are clearand easy and the practice exercises are excellent.This is a must-havebook for anyone wishing to expand their tap knowledge and artistry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent how to book, but it's no dictionary
I'm an advanced tapper who just recently began teaching an intermediate tap class. I decided to find a dictionary of tap in case one of my students asked me about a step I may not know. I ordered this book and realized thatit was no dictionary. So if you're looking for a dictionary I suggestlooking somewhere else. It is a wonderful how to book though!For instanceit talks about syncopating the beat, has pictures of proper placement ofyour your foot on shuffles, tons of combinations, etc. I suggest this bookto tap teachers of all levels and students interested in betteringthemselves!

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have for tap teachers and students
This book has been a wealth of ideas and information. I use many of the drills and combinations in my classes. They are clearly notated and easy to understand (which is unusual for a "book" on tap dance). I wouldrecommend this book for anyone at an intermediate level or higher. Wellworth the money! ... Read more

9. So You Think You're Funny?: A Students' Guide to Improv Comedy (Dance Other Performing Arts)
by The Immediate Gratification Players
 Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$17.95
Isbn: 1566081734
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Anyonecan do improvisational comedy -- all you need is a sense of humor anda touch of fearlessness. The Immediate Gratification Players have beenimprovising at Harvard University since 1986, and in this book, theyshow you how to do it, too.

Fromhoning the skills of the craft to presenting your comedy onstage, thisbook takes you through every step of the process on your journey fromimprov nobody to improv hero. Topics discussed include mastering animprov scene, nailing an audition, and, eventually, storming the stage.You will even learn how to make an improv troupe from scratch.

TheImmediate Gratification Players have created the only book about improvisationalcomedy aimed directly at students -- written froma students' perspective. The book also features a foreword by comedianSarah Haskins and an afterword by writer/director Nicholas Stoller,both graduates of the troupe.

Witha hilarious outlook and a treasure trove of tips and techniques, thisbook will make you laugh as much as you learn. So give improv a try-- no experience necessary. ... Read more

10. Whose Improv Is It Anyway? Beyond Second City
by Amy E. Seham
 Hardcover: 258 Pages (2001-06-19)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$33.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157806340X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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On both sides of the stage improv-comedy's popularity has increased exponentially throughout the 1980s and '90s and into the new millennium. Presto! An original song is created out of thin air. With nothing but a suggestion from the audience, daring young improvisers working without a net or a script create hilarious characters, sketches, and songs. Thrilled by the danger, the immediacy, and the virtuosity of improv-comedy, spectators laugh and cheer.

American improv-comedy burst onto the scene in the 1950s with Chicago's the Compass Players (best known for the brilliant comedy duo Mike Nichols and Elaine May) and the Second City, which launched the careers of many popular comedians, including Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Mike Myers. Chicago continues to be a mecca for young performers who travel from faraway places to study improv. At the same time, the techniques of Chicago improv have infiltrated classrooms, workshops, rehearsals, and comedy clubs across North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Improv's influence is increasingly evident in contemporary films and in interactive entertainment on the internet.

Drawing on the experiences of working improvisers, Whose Improv Is It Anyway? provides a never-before-published account of developments beyond Second City's mainstream approach to the genre. This fascinating history chronicles the origins of "the Harold," a sophisticated new "long-form" style of improv developed in the '80s at ImprovOlympic, and details the importance and pitfalls of ComedySports. Here also is a backstage glimpse at the Annoyance Theatre, best known on the national scene for its production of The Real Live Brady Bunch. Readers will get the scoop on the recent work of players who, feeling excluded by early improv's "white guys in ties," created such independent groups as the Free Associates and the African American troupe Oui Be Negroes.

There is far more to the art of improv than may be suggested by the sketches on Saturday Night Live or the games on Whose Line Is It Anyway? This history, an insider's look at the evolution of improv-comedy in Chicago, reveals the struggles, the laughter, and the ideals of mutual support, freedom, and openness that have inspired many performers. It explores the power games, the gender inequities, and the racial tensions that can emerge in improvised performance, and it shares the techniques and strategies veteran players use to combat these problems. Improv art is revealed to be an art of compromise, a fragile negotiation between the poles of process and product. The result, as shown here, can be exciting, shimmering, magical, and not exclusively the property of any troupe or actor.

Amy E. Seham is an assistant professor of theater and dance at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. In Connecticut she has served as artistic director of Performance Studio in New Haven and of Free Shakespeare on the Green in New Haven and Stamford. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Willing to say the 'taboo"
As a female improviser, I had been aware of and frustrated by many of the gender power dynamics in the improv troupes I have worked with. This book hit me at the exact right time in my comedy career -- it gave the words and theory I needed to face head-on the unproductive loops and outsider status that I had been trying to fight.

After I read of this book, I started talking openly about race and gender with my improv troupe. It was the jumping-off point for us, as a company, to become more conscious in our approach to the art and our relationships with each other, on and off stage.

2-0 out of 5 stars Blowhard and Pseudo-Intellectual
I am a ComedySportz performer, so I was eager to read the detailed history of ComedySportz's origins provided in this book.It does accomplish that.However the history is surrounded by ridiculous blowhard pseudo-intellectual writing that tries to tie improvisation to politics.Just take this excerpt as an example, "Chudnow [the founder of ComedySportz] acknowledges that improvisational performance is historically associated with liberal or even transgressive politics. But ComedySportz, through its sports overlay, not only disallows transgressive performances, it actively produces normative ones."What the heck does that mean?There are also many references to Marxism and other philosophical ideologies that are completely out of place.It seems based on the personal experiences of the author and interviews with two former ComedySportz players, the author is trying to paint the whole of ComedySportz as a racist and anti-women organization.This would be a surprise to the many women and non-Caucasians that I perform with and count among my close friends.Clearly that author has an axe to grind.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a load of cr@p
please, please, PLEASE avoid this book at all costs.It perpetuates the myth that the Chicago scene somehow stifles women.Which is, if you ask most WOMEN in the Chicago scene, clearly a bass-ackward accounting.In fact, most groups around town are actively LOOKING for women to join; it's not a "all-white boys club" because of any exclusionary policies.

Also, somehow lost in her diatribe is the mere fact that half the teachers and coaches, as well as the owner/operator of IO, are women.

Sad, sad, sad.

1-0 out of 5 stars Warning! Humour free zone.
Oh dear.

The jacket cover of this book suggests we may learn more about the roots of Improv and more depth of the art than is "seen on TV"."There is far more to Improv than....Whose Line...".

Instead of a history, guide or introduction to Improv, however, Ms. Seham uses this book as a personal forum to vent spleen on various political angles, mainly feminist. This is a humour free book full of political rhetoric and outrageous slanted views on the gender, race and sexuality in Improv theatre.

Seham states many times throughout the book that she believes the vast majority of Improv groups are nothing short of "boys clubs". As a woman working in Improv for 8 years I find her opinions and views narrower than those of the males she claims abuse their role in theatre.

In one notable moment she even makes specific negative reference to an improv colleague - "I felt that Patrick's offstage attitude toward me as the artistic director of the theatre had entered into his improvised choice. Not only was a sultan ordering his concubine to her knees, but Patrick was demonstrating his power over a female authority figure."

Naming names like this is not only extremely distasteful, but possibly damaging to the individual and an explicit display of Seham's personal angst and hatred.Surely she would have been better advised discussing her issues with her father if she wanted to be so personal.

Another quote might give you a feel for the piece. "In a manner that again parallels Bakhtin's notions of the grotesque, "Annoyance people reject product, reject the very concept of "finished" as a matter for faith and experience".

A laugh a minute. Prejudiced, biased and yawnsome. A subjective personal essay on gender race and politics in theatre rather than an interesting history of Improv.

As a female comic I find the constant reliance on Tampon/Lesbian humour, or attacks on male performers an insult to my gender and intelligence. If Seham can't use her wit and skill onstage to demonstrate her Improv prowess she doesn't belong there and certainly doesn't deserve to be published.

I simply can't imagine anyone buying this book being pleased with the purchase.

Avoid at all costs.

5-0 out of 5 stars YAY!
I love that improv is developed enough now to have scholarly texts about it - not just histories.Although Whose Improv gives a lot of history not available elsewhere, its real value is its assessment of gender issues in improv.There's something to it, and Seham's lifted the rock to see what's crawling underneath. ... Read more

11. The Second City Almanac of Improvisation
by Anne Libera, Second CityInc.
Paperback: 200 Pages (2004-05-28)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$19.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810118017
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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It all began in a converted Chinese laundry on Chicago's north side on a cold December night in 1959. No one could have known that by the next century, The Second City would have established itself as the premier comedy institution in the world. Taking its act north, The Second City would build a second permanent home in Toronto where it would create the Emmy-Award winning television series "SCTV." Pioneering the use of improvisation in developing talent and creating satiric revue comedy, The Second City has become - in the words of the New York Times - "A Comedy Empire."

The Second City Almanac of Improvisation - like the theatre itself - is a collection of diverse ideas, viewpoints, and memories, written by a vast array of teachers, actors, and directors who all got their start at the legendary comedy theatre. Fred Willard recalls his introduction to The Second City style in the mid-Sixties; Tim Kazurinsky gives a hilarious visual demonstration on the art of object work; "Saturday Night Live" star Tina Fey talks about re-improvising material as a mode of writing revue comedy; noted director Mick Napier takes on the thorny debate between long-form improvisation and short-form improvisation.Anne Libera guides the reader through each essay by providing a road map for understanding how The Second City method of improv-based comedy has become the industry standard.

Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, Peter Boyle, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, John Candy, Martin Short, Gilda Radner, George Wendt, Jim Belushi, Bonnie Hunt, Mike Myers, Ryan Stiles, Rachel Dratch, Nia Vardalos - no other theatre can boast an alumni list of this magnitude. The Second City Almanac of Improvisation provides practical instruction, personal details, and inspiration to both improvisers and their fans.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful
I love the anecdotes from some of the veterans of improvisational comedy.The almanac itself is scattered throughout the book (seven parts) and outlines what it means to play, or be a player, in an ensemble. This book is a great addition to your reference library if you are a student of the art, or are just interested in this type of comedy, and will definitely increase your appreciation of the art.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most effective book of it's kind
Written by a long list of some of the most talented minds in improv comedy, both past and present, The Second City Almanac is a scrapbook of useful and often contradictory information about improv and sketch comedy. Leading new comedic actors through how to start a group, direct, and maximize your improv potential, it is required reading for comedians, actors of all stripes, or anyone interested in live comedy. I found portions written by Tina Fey and Mick Napier to be the most revealing.

A word of warning, though. At times this book can feel disjointed. It's not a bad thing, just a disorienting one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Improv from the Masters
You can skip around in this book as much as you wish.There are gems of information all through it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Item shipped promptly and in the condition as advertised. Would do business again and highly recommend this seller.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE new bible of improv.
Every 20 years or so a new book comes out that sets itself apart as the definitive book of improvisation.Not since "Truth in Comedy," have I read such a useful and practical guide to improv by some of its greatest leaders.With more specialized authors and obviously more contemporary contributors Libera has written and compiled a work that is sure to be the improv industry standard for at least the next 20 years if not more.It has definitely helped me get more laughs on stage. ... Read more

12. There's No I in Improv: The complete guide to the GS IMPROV technique with over 50 Improv games fully explained
by Greg Sullivan
Paperback: 284 Pages (2010-09-24)
list price: US$19.95
Isbn: 0578066416
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Improv is an essential skill for actors because it teaches them how to truly listen to their fellow performers when onstage. They know there is plenty of talent out there, just a shortage of opportunity. Improv gives them the chance to play the hero, the villain, the loser and the winner - all in the same night! Improv is also a superb way for busy professionals to enhance their communication, listening and teamwork skills in an engaging social atmosphere. Learning to improvise may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it can be done. There are actually many different improv games, each with their own structure and rules. The GS IMPROV technique for performing them can be applied to any improv game. This book employs an engaging, light-hearted manner in presenting that technique. The book also gives detailed descriptions of over 50 improv games, along with tips on how to play them which come from the author's experience.Improv is also great for engaging young minds and for keeping senior minds sharp. Simply put, Improv is great fun and this book enables the reader to start participating in it. ... Read more

13. The Art of Chicago Improv: Short Cuts to Long-Form Improvisation
by Rob Kozlowski
Paperback: 168 Pages (2002-02-26)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$14.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 032500384X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Kozlowski traces the history of improvisational acting in Chicago from the days of Viola Spolin to the appearance of the Compass, Second City, and todays practitioners ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insider's guide to essence of Chicago theater world
A great read that both explains what's going on on all those little storefront stages in Chicago (improv)and gives you the history of the last 40, but especially the last 10 years of this world. Lots of names of real people, descriptions of rehearsal strategies, what groups closed and what groups survived, who went to Second City and then to Saturday Night Live, the difference between The Movie and The Bat. This book credibly conveys the intense respect felt by practitioners of this art form for originators like Del Close (of The Harold -- the "long form" improv).

5-0 out of 5 stars There IS improv outside of IO and Second City in Chicago...
...and Rob Kozlowski does a great job of showing how improv spread outside of these two venerable institutions during the late 80's throughout the 90's.Granted, it's an easier read for people who either live in Chicago or are familiar with the Chicago scene, but I have heard several improvisors who've recently moved here reference this book as a great guide to help them figure out where they want to study and where they want to perform.

3-0 out of 5 stars Detail Soup
This is a theatre by theatre, person by person account of long form improv productions in Chicago.We're talking date by date, address by address, show by show, location by location, director by director, actor by actor, ticket price by ticket price, lease by lease!

There are an ENORMOUS number of personal pronouns in this thing.I mean, every page has seven or eight names of actors or directors associated with a particular theatre or show.I kept reading it, thinking, "Who?Who?WHO?I guess the name doesn't matter, it's the gist of the thing...Who?Who?Who?Where?A basement theatre? An angry landlord? Who?Where?"

To me, the murky throughline is what's important: the growth of the improv community, the innovations, the development of the art form.

I think this book would have benefitted readers if it had *synthesized* the changes in the art form over time, rather than miring itself in the "description of the crack in the wall" detail.I mean, hasn't videotape been invented yet?

When a chapter featurs an interview, or some kind of summary or encapsulation, it's wonderful.It overcomes its inferiority complex about Chicago theatre for a brief insightful moment, abandoning its chip-on-the-shoulder need for name-dropping minutiae.

4-0 out of 5 stars History and theory of Chicago improvisation
Rob's book covers the history of Chicago improv rather well.The only other book that does it is "Whose Improv Is It Anyway?: Beyond Second City" by Amy Seham.Her book is more historical/sociological than this one.His book is rather brief, and it almost assumes that you've read other books on improv before you picked it up.It has brief descriptions of several different long form structures, which makes it and "Truth in Comedy" by Close, Halpern, and Johnson the only two books that discuss long form.While it does offer some good advice on performance, it should be a supplement to your library and not your only source of information.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
This is a very well written history of Chicago Improv. Having just jmped into the improv waters a few years ago it was pretty interesting to leanr about the origin and growth of what we perform today.

True it can be a little bewildering to keep track of all the names and places, especially if you live outsode of Chicago. However the creation and growth of the form make for a nice read.

A great book for people new to long form who want more history than Del Close & Charna Halpern.

Now if I could only get my copy back from Erik with a K. ... Read more

14. The Art of Comedy: Getting Serious About Being Funny
by Paul Ryan
Paperback: 208 Pages (2007-05-29)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$8.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823084671
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Want to know a secret? Sssshhhh. Great comedy actors aren’t born...they’re made. Who makes them? Paul Ryan, that’s who. Now Ryan, the top comedy acting coach in Hollywood, shares his secrets in The Art of Comedy, a step-by-step guide for turning actors into comedy actors. Packed with exercises, The Art of Comedy explains exactly how to build a character, how to incorporate improvisation into a written scene, where to turn for comic inspiration, and how to increase your comedic imagination. Also included is a technical analysis of comedy greats from Milton Berle to Jerry Seinfeld. For anyone who wants to work in film, in television, or in community theater, here’s the complete guide to acting funny.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

2-0 out of 5 stars ripof
dose not tell many tips for a goodcomedian and i thought it was going to teach me how to spell

1-0 out of 5 stars Comedian
If you are a stand-up wanting to get a book to help you in the craft - this is not the book for you!

You would be much better off buying Ajaye's "Comic Insights" or Carter's "Comedy Bible" and watching a lot of comedy.

This book is more for comic theatre actors, and then it is not much chop. The end.

1-0 out of 5 stars If You Want to be Funny to Your Grandparents...
All of the author's comedy heros are dead.The style of comedy that he teaches died with the cancellation of "The Honeymooners".If you want to be the next Tim Conway, this is the book for you.If you're an artsy-fartsy highschool theatre club member, you may like this book.Otherwise, don't waste your money.

I have to admit that I didn't read the whole thing (couldn't), I picked it up again, skipped over all of the exercises, and read some more.Still just as bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!Comedy made easy!
Paul has a gift for making comedy easy--whether you're an actor, a housewife, or a CEO.Comedy is so important in all walks of life, and this book helps bring out the "funny" in all of us.I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book for All!
Paul Ryan has the ability like no one else to bring out the humor and fun in anyone.His exercises and advice can help the most serious and intense lighten up and have a good time.Whether your an actor looking to improve your comedic talents or a business person wanting to inject humor in your presentations, this is the perfect book.Great gift for the holidays. ... Read more

15. Curriculum, Training Methods, And History Of A Competitive Improvisational Comedy Company (Studies in Theatre Arts)
by Kevin Bradshaw
Hardcover: 167 Pages (2004-10-31)
list price: US$99.95 -- used & new: US$99.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0773463178
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
ComedySportz, the Milwaukee-based competitive improvisational company, was the examination model used in this study which examines the history of the company, analyzes their beginner workshop curriculum and details their training methods. Two research questions were applied: What is the history of ComedySportz? What are the teaching methods used by ComedySportz in their beginner-level workshops? Research was based on personal interviews, company archives, questionnaires, and observations. Dick Chudnow, the company's founder, was interviewed in order to provide a foundation for the study. Research subjects for the field investigation were selected from the instructional and artistic staff of ComedySportz and were termed "experts". The project was descriptive in nature, relying on personal interviews, electronic mail, telephone conversations and personal observations of the ComedySportz show and workshops. The resulting investigation has revealed a rich and varied history of a company dedicated to competitive performance improvisation.The analysis of the beginner level workshop training methods of the Milwaukee, New York and San Jose ComedySportz clubs indicates a highlevel of teaching expertise, a wide variety of training methods and the formation of a solid background in improvisation skills. The study provides historical documentation for a leading company and offers a model for researchers interested in pursuing similar ventures. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius I tell you!
Bradshaw gives a stunning perspective on Improvisational comedy.
A must read for any aspiring improv teacher or student.
Bradshaw, clearly, lives among the ranks of Improv diety. ... Read more

16. The Compass
by Janet Coleman
 Hardcover: 347 Pages (1990-05-26)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$7.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394525450
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17. Improv Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Improvising in Comedy, Theatre, and Beyond
by Tom Salinsky, Deborah Frances-White
Paperback: 448 Pages (2008-06-15)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$20.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0826428584
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
"The Improv Handbook" is a great new guide that covers the history of improvisation and includes chapters on spontaneity and the fundamentals of storytelling.Although there are already several successful books on the market about the theory and practice of improvised theatre, there's nothing comprehensive, helpful, fun and full of experience and advice."The Improv Handbook" is a great new guide from a husband and wife team who have years of studying, performance and teaching behind them. Beginning with a history of improvisation, the book works through different types of format and performance including TheatreSports and the inventions of Keith Johnstone and Del Close. The core section of the book is called, simply, "How To Improvise" and includes chapters on spontaneity, the fundamentals of storytelling, working together, upping the ante and characters.Having established the fundamentals, the two authors go on to elaborate on more advanced techniques and skills. The book concludes with sections on how to improvise in front of an audience and - just as crucially - how to attract an audience in the first place."The Improv Handbook" should become a standard book in the field - it's smart, fun, helpful, and inspiring, and it's on a mission to bring Improv to a much wider audience. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Improvisers
It doesn't matter whether you are a beginning improviser, a seasoned pro, or you simply want to build better life skills, this is a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the only improv book you need
I teach high school theater and I can't recommend this book enough.I came across the Improv Handbook just by dumb luck (I think it was one of those Amazon recommendations) and it has changed my acting classes for the better across the board.It is wonderful for not only teaching improv, but for teaching the elements of storytelling which are so important in all areas of theater.It's fun to read, the exercises are clearly explained, the objectives are concrete, and the kids love it.
There are one or two parts that are not workable in my very conservative high school, but those are few and far between.This book, along with anything by Bruce Miller, will give you substantive ways to improve your acting classes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like having the sequel to Impro for Storytellers
I am a huge fan of Keith Johnstone's Impro for Storytellers. This book felt like a continuation and so much more. Having read over a dozen books on improv, I would say this is one of the best I have come across. Tom Salinsky has been there and done that and it shows in his spot-on comments. I've been performing in a troop for 2 years and I couldn't agree more with his list of games that "should never be played". I haven't finished the book yet (it's a hefty volume), but the advice and reflections I've read so far already make it worth far more than the purchase price.

5-0 out of 5 stars An book on improv that you will come back
I have been improvising for quite a few years yet have found many of the "must read" books on improv to be dry and impenetrable. Many of them seem to have very little relevance to the modern improvisor.

"The Improv Handbook" definitely does not fit into the above category and is chock-a-block full of useful tidbits for beginners and for seasoned performers. It is a book on improv I keep referring to in many situations. Well written and enjoyable it was definitely worth my time and money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for improv and for social skills training for those on the autistic spectrum
I bought this book to help improve my son's skills in his theatre classes.His favorite part of theatre is improv class, but he needs work on his give and take skills.

As I read the book, I realized that this book spells out a lot of the skills needed to improve social skills for people on the AUTISM spectrum.The listening skills, give-and-take, and team playing required in improv would work well with teaching social skills to those who don't have these abilities -- and the beauty is that when one is successful, you get immediate positive feedback (laughter) which motivates you to try harder.

I really think that improv classes could go a long way to teach older higher-functioning children on the autism spectrum how to be funny -- thereby helping them with social skills.

Parents of children on the autism spectrum -- really consider purchasing this book, and possibly setting up improv classes, in order to help your teenage child understand humor.It could go a long way to helping them adapt to their high school experience, and help their peers see them favorably so that they can improve their friendships. ... Read more

18. Playing Commedia: A Training Guide to Commedia Techniques
by Barry Grantham
Paperback: 288 Pages (2001-02-21)
list price: US$21.95
Isbn: 0325003467
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book consists principally of graded games and exercises introducing us step by step to Commedia techniques. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Playing Commedia excellent for drama teachers
I found this book an excellent resource for teaching high school drama. Commedia is rich in its traditions and has influenced modern comedy greatly. This book offers insight into the various stock characters and gives extensive exercises to build Commedia skills. Commedia also scores big with risk-taking high school students, who are especially drawn to its bawdier aspects. I use this book with its companion volume of short Commedia plays, which includes a section on the various lazzi of Commedia.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for teaching comedy
This book is wonderfully clear description of the history of commedia dell'arte, as well as the ways it can be adapted by the modern theatre artist. Includes stock character histories, mask exercises and a large assortment of comic and commedia exercises. I teach acting and am using this book in two classes. One quibble: the more precise exercises are hard to follow - but many others are not.

5-0 out of 5 stars Playing Commedia for directors and actors
I found this book while searching for a rehearsal method to use in doing physical farce.It proved to be invaluable and inspirational to my cast.We used almost all of the exercises and out of them came some wonderfully clean comic structures and ensemble playing.I have recommended it over and over to friends and students and am now using many of the exercises in my scene study classes in an effort to expand my students physical vocabularies.Buy this book! ... Read more

19. Comedy for Real Life: A Guide to Helping Kids Survive in an Imperfect World
by Emily Oldak
Spiral-bound: 126 Pages (1999-12-30)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$14.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967682800
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A comedy improvisation activity book for teachers & counselors. Quick, easy, fun techniques to increase student comprehension & retention. Activities for counselors & youth-care workers to help kids express feelings, redirect negative behavior, & find their way to happier & healthier lives. Easy to follow instructions. Lays flat. Large type. Lot's of real life applications. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Keeping your wits in an upside down world
If you are a teacher, counselor or parent, you need this book.It will help you deal with kids on a kid's level.It is filled with playful exercises that are both engaging and educational.And, as an added bonus, there are delightful illustrations from the kids themselves.As the author of The Healing Power of Humor, I've seen a number of books that have tried to accomplish what this book does.I know of no other that is so easy to use and so effective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thrival Manual for Kids in an Imperfect World
Emily Oldak has created an excellent "how-to" prescription for moving on and living for kids of all ages (including Mom and Dad) for today.Using her unique skills from the world of comedy improvisation, Comedy for Real Life--A Guide to Helping Kids Survive in an Imperfect World is just what any common-sense teacher or therapist would order.

I've know Emily through her excellent communicative skills for many years.Her delightful blend of humor, comedy and realism is a breath of fresh air for both adult and child.The book is loaded with activities, easy to read and digest and designed for rapid retention.

Kids will thrive with Emily and Comedy for Real Life--A Guide to Helping Kids in an Imperfect World as their guide. ... Read more

20. The Compass: The Improvisational Theatre that Revolutionized American Comedy (Centennial Publications of The University of Chicago Press)
by Janet Coleman
Paperback: 362 Pages (1991-11-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226113450
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Janet Coleman brilliantly recreates the time, the place, the personalities, and the neurotic magic whereby the Compass made theater history in America. The Compass began in a storefront theater near the University of Chicago campus in the summer of 1955 and lasted only a few years before its players—including David Shepherd, Paul Sills, Elaine May, Mike Nichols, Barbara Harris, and Shelley Berman—moved on. Out of this group was born a new form: improvisational theater and a radically new kind of comedian. "They did not plan to be funny or to change the course of comedy," writes Coleman. "But that is what happened."

"For anyone who is interested in theatre, underground theatre, improvisational theatre, and the sheer madness of trying something new with a repertory group, The Compass will prove a welcome history with fascinating details."—Norman Mailer

"Janet Coleman has done a spectacular job of capturing the history, the almost alarmingly diverse cultural influences, and the extraordinary people who made up the Compass."—Neal Weaver, Los Angeles Village View

"Engrossing. . . . An open window on a part of the theater that should be known."—Arthur Miller

"A valuable chronicle of an important chapter in the history of comedy and theater."—William Wolf, New York Observer

"The eruptive, disruptive talents who made the theater memorable are the same ones who make The Compass a good read."—Jay Cocks, Time

"A moving, inspirational, anecdote-studded feast."—Publishers Weekly
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars YES you need this book, AND you are a fool not to get it.
This book is pinnacle to your success as an improvisor. Understanding the evolution of improvisation as well as the tried and true tactics are mandatory to being a good performer. Please do not hesitate. You will neverforgive yourself! Really! This is endorsed by really big improvisors. Alsosee "Truth in Comedy" by Del Close and Charna Halpern! Truth inComedy is also a great book that will open your little"short-form" mind to a "long-form" world!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, informative, fascinating
This book is chock full of information about the "Beginning" of modern improv.It's an excellent story well told.It reminds me of a story I know about sheetrock. ... Read more

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