Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre. Home · Impro: Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF Impro for Storytellers (Theatre Arts (Routledge Paperback)) · Read more. The great of Impro for Storytellers, you can find in our pdf. Impro for Storytellers with compatible format of pdf, epub, mobi and kindle. You can download Impro for. Impro for Storytellers is the follow-up to Keith Johnstone's classic Impro, one of the best-selling books ever published on improvisation. Impro for Storytel, ISBN.
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Johnstone-Impro_ Improvisation and the Theatre-Methuen Drama ().pdf ( PDFy Impro 'Impro is the most dynamic, funny, wise, practical and provocative and hides me under the bed, then this is better storytelling, since I've not only . Impro for Storytellers - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. Impro for Storytellers is the follow-up to Keith Johnstone's classic Impro, one of the best-selling books DownloadPDF MB Read online.
If you own the copyright to this book and it is wrongfully on our website, we offer a simple DMCA procedure to remove your content from our site. Start by pressing the button below! His unique ideas, set out in the classic text, Impro, have now been taken up by practitioners the world over. Impro for Storytellers builds on and extends the seminal earlier work. Keith's techniques specialize in releasing an individual's potential within the context of group work.
Each Judge holds up a three card. Don't be afraid to be criticized for scoring high! Isn't there some other way to express good nature and playfulness?
Shake hands with them. Pretend they're boxers and that you're their seconds. Towel them. Mime putting gum-shields in their mouths. Announce them as the "Undefeated Winners" at this particular game. Let them sign autographs. You can't convey good nature, courage, affection and playfulness by being obedient! There's a table and two chairs onstage, but that was the previous scenography. How about working on an empty stage? Or why not drag on the boat? Why not invite some audience members on to the stage and have them be distorting mirrors in a fun-fair.
Be eager to assist your colleagues [even if they're members of the other team]. This is theatre, not the work-a-day world where people are mean spirited and drag themselves about with "marks of woe". Why not be two lighthouse keepers playing golf? Or God being massaged by one of the angels? Never repeat what the other team did unless they were so incompetent that you can say: "We'll show you how they should have played that scene!
W i l l the Judges please score it. Honk boring players off the stage. Don't let them burble on. The audience wants to see the players competing in the same event.
And you can ask them how accurate you were. What do the Fat Cats do? Why not offer something slow, something serious, something "emotional"? Stay on the bench and try to find a way to end it! But let's suppose that a scene is going badly - what then? Or shout advice! Or grab the mike and add a commentary! Or mime sweeping them off the stage! Or plead with the Judges to honk a rescue horn.
Or enter as Doctors and take them back to the asylum! Or as Impro-Police who arrest them for cruelty to the audience.
Professional actors are very likely to express anger or resentment, but no one admires this, or wants to invite them home after the game. In at the Deep End The first Theatresports in Vancouver was played in the evening after a two-day workshop. The theatre agreed, and the audience were invited to stay and had a wonderful time as did the players. In contrast, groups that study in private, and who are determined to 'get it right', usually give up; yet had they been thrown in front of an audience they might have had a great adventure.
And some skills can't be mastered in private like staying good natured while being publicly trashed. In a school context, performing in public may mean playing in front of another class, or during the lunch-hour, or challenging another school.
Disaster is Unavoidable The first time a group works in public they may be so humble, so vulnerable, that the audience's heart goes out to them. Next time, or the time after, they'll leap onstage without a trace of humility, and the audience will say to itself: 'So they think they're funny?
Let's see them prove it! Yo-yoing between arrogance and humility when you're a beginner is as inevitable as falling off when you learn to ride a bike. The Sticky Stage A beginners' team is onstage with nothing to offer.
W i l l they end their scene so that they can calm down and try again? No they won't - because they're too proud to admit defeat. But what if they did become inspired? W i l l they end the scene then? Not when they're basking in the warm sunshine of the audience's approval!
Yet this approval can't last for ever, and when it's gone they'll be ashamed to slink off. This is tedious for the audience, and yet weak Judges will collude in this, thinking, We've got to give them a chance.
This removes the great advantage of Theatresports, which is that dead scenes are given a quick burial. The Magnetic Stage Players sitting on the team-bench feel left out, so they leap in, not realizing that they should have been shouting advice, or providing sound effects, or waiting for an opportunity to wave the lights down. I attended a match where even the 'offstage' team was constantly onstage 'being helpful to the other team' , and I was told that 'having everyone onstage is "democratic"'.
Not so at Loose Moose where an experienced improviser will sometimes play against a four-person team. Solo violinists, or magicians, or jugglers aren't shining! They leap onstage to share the glory whether they're needed or not, and yet the world's drama is based on scenes between two people. It's very difficult to find a good three-person acting scene because the third character is usually functioning as some sort of spectator - and why should improvisation be any different?
Scenes that involve all the players should be the exception, not the rule. Challenges Issuing challenges: Keep a certain formality. Challenges should seem important. If the players can't take the game seriously why should the onlookers?
And be brief. Most challenges are self-explanatory. If you neglect something essential - for example, that a 'miss-grab' loses a HatGame - the Commentator or a Judge can clarify this. Challenge to anything: Many teams only challenge to games and to the same games , but unexpected and unheard-of challenges keep the players alert. Take risks. Challenges that seem stupid, incomprehensible or repetitive can always be rejected at the discretion of the Judges.
The problem lies not in the games, but in weak Judges who let uninspired scenes drag on. If the players are boring which they will be if they're screwing up a game , throw them off. Great teams brain-storm to find new challenges; for example: to the funniest joke, to the best one-minute radio drama played in the dark this gives our audience a chance to cuddle , to the best scene featuring an object chosen by the other team at the Olympics, Calgary offered a live goat , to the best scene using an audience volunteer off-limits to beginners because volunteers must be treated with love and generosity and this takes skill , to the best enactment of a folk tale with an audience volunteer as the Hero , to the best love scene with a tragic ending, to the best excuse, to the best lie, to the best exposure of an injustice, to the best revenge, to the best escape, to the most compassionate scene, to the best use of the other team e.
Great teams set themselves goals like including audience volunteers in every scene, or playing each scene in gibberish, but when teams only challenge to Theatre Games and to the same games week after week this creates the same monotony as soup followed by soup followed by soup.
Games are for providing contrast, and should be interspersed between stories, or between challenges to 'the best religious scene', or 'to the most psychotic scene', or whatever.
A scene in which someone asks for a job is followed by another scene in which someone asks for a job. The Audience team would avoid such problems by shouting: 'The book! The book! If you create such a book, write verbal challenges in one column, physical challenges in another, solo challenges in another, and so on. Others assume that a scene that lasts a quarter of an hour is better than one that lasts thirty seconds. I've seen matches in which not one scene pleased the performers, and yet they struggled to make them all last for at least six minutes.
It would have been better to say: 'This is garbage! Can we start again!
For example: if the Commentator has said: 'And now for the final challenge', and the scenes are dreary, it becomes difficult for the Judges to add a further challenge. Another example: a Director set up a dramatic scene, and over-directed it by saying: 'You can only use threeword sentences. Baulking: A challenge can be baulked at refused at the discretion of the Judges. Such baulks add variety and give the spectators something to discuss on the way home. Typical baulks might be: 'We want to baulk at that challenge on the grounds that everyone's sick of it!
Does anyone really want them to be followed by two singing scenes? Judges can also baulk. They can say: 'We object to that game! After all, a clean-shaven team could improvise beards from wigs, or a scientist could invent a hair-restorer so powerful that a SWAT team has to shave its way into him. When three members of a team were sitting with their heads in penalty baskets a rare occurrence , the fourth player baulked at a challenge to: 'the best four-person pecking-order'. This was overruled on the grounds that the audience would be delighted to see one person play four different characters or working with three audience volunteers.
Players wishing to be cooperative will agree to be in scenes that hold not the slightest interest for them or for us , but it's better to baulk than to collude in mutual self-destruction. The Warning for Boring He is terrified of b e c o m i n g 'too respected', he explains, 'because they d o n ' t tell y o u w h e n y o u are b a d '. Interview with Sir John Gielgud, G u a r d i a n W e e k l y , 8 November If a team receives a 'Warning for Boring' they have to end their scene and leave the stage it's not a 'warning' but the real thing, but it sounds less insulting than a cry of'boooorrring'.
Before I bought these horns, 'warnings' were given by a zero card, but it feels less 'teachery' to be 'honked' off, rather than 'zeroed' off. Judges can also end a scene by waving the lights down, as can the lighting operators or team members if they see a suitable moment. Even experienced players will plod on, hoping for inspiration that never comes. Our players will sometimes storm into our green room after a bad show saying: 'Where were the boring-calls when we needed them!
I heard one say: 'I'm a performer - why should I care what the audience think? Such players will complain that the warning is being given or that the lights are fading , before people have lost interest, but could there possibly be a better time? The audience will howl with rage if a scene is honked unjustifiably, and this unites them with the actors against the Judges good!
After all, you're not being cast out into the tundra during a blizzard. The spectators adore improvisers who can be thrown offstage and yet stay happy. Accepting the Warning At least one group softens the warning by saying that it just means 'that the players failed to see a possible ending'. This goes against the nature of sport. The spectators want to see boxers being knocked out, speed-boats flipping over, and improvisers being told unequivocally that their scene has failed.
Boring means boring, and many scenes are boring after twenty seconds already irredeemably stupid. Instead of learning how to be rejected with good humour - which can take all of five minutes - many groups remove the warning, and other groups give the players two or three minutes to 'find an ending', perhaps signalling this by throwing in a towel, yet minutes of boredom may have preceded this if the Judges are timid.
Throwing in a towel shows an extraordinary greed for stage-time, because it admits defeat, and yet still demands a chance to 'wrap up the scene'. Why 'wrap-up' something bad when you can flush it away instantly?
Another unsatisfactory solution is to impose time limits on all scenes, sometimes as little as one or two minutes 'unsatisfactory' because players should learn how to end scenes by themselves. I've even heard of Theatresports being advertised as 'no scene over ninety seconds', which might make some sense if the entire event only lasted for fifteen minutes, but why kill scenes that have a lot of power and energy?
In the early days we were so protective of the players' feelings that a team kept possession of the stage until the third warning, and all warnings had to be unanimous. Then we threw teams off after the second warning. Finally, after much heart-searching, we decided that justice was less important than getting dead scenes off the stage, and we said that any Judge could end any scene at any time without consultation , but even then dreary scenes were sometimes allowed to continue while the bored Judges toyed with their rescue horns but were reluctant to 'do the deed'.
These days the so-called Hell-Judges improvisors who are sitting at the rear of the audience, see p. This flashes a red 'Hell light' at the Judges' feet, and in the lighting booth. The official Judges can ignore this, but it's likely to shake them out of their apathy. I could have invented more discrete ways to remove improvisers from the stage - as in 'comedy lounges' where the comedian has to leave when a picture lights up behind the bar - but I wanted the warnings to be blatant because I was tired of the audience that 'appreciates' theatre and says, 'I quite liked it', as if discussing a dubious egg.
Misbehaviour My group, the Theatre Machine, gave hundreds of performances, and toured abroad, and yet we had no competitors. This puzzled me until I realized that we were presenting a continuing skirmish between me and the players; they would start one scene while I was setting up another; I would force them to complete undigested material, and they would retaliate by doing the opposite of whatever I was asking.
There was always some craziness going on, and the result was about as academic as the films of W i l l Hay a comedian who played a harassed schoolteacher. Other groups would have seen this byplay as 'not part of the show', and as 'not worth imitating', and yet it had changed a comedy class into a popular entertainment. Had you attended the All-Star Show in Calgary - usually me 'fronting' four performers - you might have seen me whisper to them, after which the show would have noticeably improved.
Make my life difficult! Screw me up! There'll be nothing good natured about it, and the audience will hate them. You can see such destructive misbehaviour when the players on the bench shout out irrelevancies which are meant to express their good nature, but which make them sound like ill-mannered drunks; yet if you misbehave brilliantly, the audience will adore you, and see you as playful 'children'.
A team that insisted on getting penalties deliberately would be disruptive, but a team that earned a penalty by decorating the stage with flowers would be spreading 'good vibes'. Then one emerged with her and carried her backstage this mock rape was not 'politically correct', but the audience roared its approval. If it had happened mid-game, it would have been intolerable. This happened fifteen years ago, but the memory still gives me pleasure.
This was far more entertaining than having to watch the winners stand to attention during a tedious speech but please don't do this - 'shop' flowers are sprayed with noxious chemicals. The Judges called a 'time-out' and collected the cards. Had the team then produced another set of cards this would certainly have earned them a penalty for disrupting the game, and had they been awarding zeros, or ones, this would not have been an expression of good nature.
If I'm leading a section of Free-Impro and I ask for two volunteers, sixteen people may dash on to the stage and pile on to the sofa. This creates good humour, and displays the performers as fearless even if they aren't. The Judges had to call the match to order, but from then on the audience was in love with the British.
If misbehaviour is understood, everyone becomes bolder. It works best if it's used to fill dead time. Avoid it and there'll always be something slavish about your work. Using Audience Volunteers Audience volunteers interest the spectators in a fresh way, and the time spent improvising with them doesn't feel like 'part of the show'. Never abuse them as happens in stand-up comedy , and when they kill idea after idea - as they will - you must somehow manoeuvre them into being successful.
Always be seen to be making them the centre of attention they will be anyway, so you might as well take the credit for it. Give them free tickets or T-shirts, or tokens for the concessions. Many groups work with audience volunteers a few times and then give up, but this may be because they treated them horribly. Another reason could be that the best time to invite volunteers on to the stage is when you don't need them, that is, when things are going really well. Any volunteer you get when things are going badly is a fool who is not worth having.
Never let people volunteer each other, and never invite anyone who avoids your eye.
Reject people who are over-eager. Dennis Cahill sometimes clutches his head and does a 'Victorian mind-reader' act in which he senses that 'someone wants to volunteer' then he plunges into the audience and emerges with someone who held eye contact with him. Let volunteers open and close their mouths while the players dub their voices, or tell the players to be puppets, and have audience volunteers manipulate them in scenes the 'puppets' providing the dialogue.
Be inventive. I've lain down on the stage and said that nothing will happen until we get eight volunteers to play a ten-minute Theatresports match.
We listened to music until eight sheepish people emerged. The audience cheered everything they did with wild enthusiasm. Mime Improvisers will mime a door and step through the 'wall' beside it; their mimed cup will 'dissolve' into nothingness; they'll throw back their heads to 'quaff from a full tumbler' which would have drenched them if it contained liquid.
These 'mistakes' are messages that say: 'See how incompetent I am? This is not my "field". Ignore the mime - just enjoy the dialogue! Don't walk away from your "horse" before you climb off it! Where did the flowers go when you embraced your lover? Hold the cup level! Stop walking through her refrigerator!
Some players avoid the problem by reducing mime to 'blips'. They'll go to the 'kitchen', gesticulate for a split second, and return holding a mimed cup of 'steaming coffee'.
If your mime seems unintelligible, tell the spectators what you were trying to convey and they'll love you for your humility. If you're 'scrubbing the floor' or 'cleaning boots', or 'brushing someone's hair', try not to touch the actual surface.
Work about an inch away. And never clench your fist tight if it's meant to be holding something that has bulk. Mimed objects are sticky. Place a 'real' cup on a table. Now repeat this in mime, and it'll seem as if you set a mimed cup on to the table and picked it up again the 'release' being so small that it went unnoticed.
Why is Theatresports a Comic Form? One reason is that comic improvisation is often as funny or funnier then rehearsed comedy. For example, when I'm giving workshops to a theatre company I might say, 'Let's invite the spectators to stay after your performance tonight so that we can improvise for them? They needn't worry, though, because the audience will soon be howling with laughter, and far more violendy than they would at comedies that may have taken months to rehearse.
If these are traditional European actors trained in a stodgy intellectual way , they may sit up long into the night - hours after I'm fast asleep - trying to make sense of the audience's readiness to laugh.
Perhaps they'll understand that people so love spontaneity that they were reacting as if watching a sporting event. Another reason why public improvisation tends to be comic is that an evening of serious scenes would be like seeing a series of car crashes in which we empathized with the victims. Classical tragedy packages a tragic episode that may last only fifteen minutes, and Shakespearean tragedy uses poetry and clowning so that the misery won't exhaust us.
Sometimes in a 'serious' impro class ice coats the walls and forms lumps in our stomachs so that we have to give up and go away. If we keened and howled our grief with the same passion that we laugh this might not happen, but the emotion stays locked up inside us. They order other improvisers about and criticize them some do this onstage: others confine it to the bench. They may be skilled at pushing the action forward, but nothing 'touches' them.
They gabble incessantly, even if this means repeating the same phrase.
Every improviser should practise this skill - because sometimes it's fine to let someone else take the wheel. Such 'star' behaviour may bear little relation to the players' actual achievement. Asked how the show went, they'll tell you how it went for them.
Even the best improvisers revert to 'type' when they get rattled. What Theatresports Can Achieve Some people often fervent capitalists and sports fans condemn Theatresports on the grounds that it's competitive, but while 'straight' theatre encourages competition - and I could tell you stories that you'd hardly believe - Theatresports can take jealous and self-obsessed beginners and teach them to play games with good nature, and to fail gracefully.
If you still have a trace of doubt about pro-wrestling being theatre, I should mention that a wrestler is being sued by W o r l d Champion Wrestling because his failure to appear for a series of bouts 'played havoc with the story-lines' G l o b e a n d M a i l , 5 May I wanted Devine to freeze the action for the space of time that deleted material would have occupied, perhaps with a commentary describing what the spectators were missing.
Movies could fill in the blanks with the face of the censor and his address and phone number. We have now moved out of this splendid theatre and into a sometime cinema, where we have the same sight-line problems, etc. They called themselves The Audience Team to spread the maximum confusion. I asked an emcee of the Boston Improvisation Group why he did this, and he said predictably that he had to, 'or the audience wouldn't believe we were improvising'. At that exact moment an elderly man interrupted us, saying, 'Excuse me, but how much do you pay the people who shout out the suggestions?
And what could I earn in an average week? This is the agony of public improvisation, that on a bad night you are seen not only as untalented, but as bereft of good taste and any common sense. Why should an audience be expected to lower its standards if they know that a show is unscripted? Would a disgusting meal taste better if the waiter said, 'Ah, but the chef is improvising! Dario Fo was entertaining seventy thousand people in a football stadium when lightning began ripping across the sky, so he launched into an impromptu debate with God.
Was he improvising? Mightn't he have been basing it on old material? Who cares? It must have been wonderful either way. When the Theatre Machine strayed into 'old material', I would head them off, not because they were 'cheating', but because fresh material is more exhilarating.
Perhaps the suggestions are coming from a few malcontents who want to be funnier than you. The actor mimes this, not realizing that it's an insult.
In any audience there may always be a few individuals who are plotting your downfall like those oafs who threw birdseed at Edna Squire Brown and Her Educated Doves a striptease act. An actor is sent out of earshot while the audience are asked for three activities to communicate to her.
Male voices shout: 'Picking her nose! Request an activity when a performance is going really badly and someone will yell, 'Shovelling manure! When I fronted the Theatre Machine I would ask for a suggestion about once every hour as a gesture of goodwill.
This gave no chance for the 'wits' in the audience to get into a feeding frenzy. I'd never imagined that improvisers would one day be asking for suggestions before every scene and enslaving themselves to the whim of aberrant individuals.
After all, who are the experts at setting up scenes? We are! Not some klutz in the audience who is just trying to get a laugh. Self-revelation should be at the heart of improvising, but suggestions offer a way to hide the performers' true identities. Joan Rivers, thinking back to her youth, wrote: 'I had no consistent image of myself onstage - and never thought about it.
There was no core to me, nothing that made it all the same girl. I was only trying to be a funny girl. The minute there was no laugh, there was no me - and the audience knew it instantly. From you, and then there's a chance that your inner demons may be released, and that's the price you pay for being an artist. One in five North Americans believe that the sun goes round the earth, so that's not helpful, but even if President Clinton or Donald Duck are suggested, can your imitation bear scrutiny?
Instead of asking 'Who am I? Bangladesh is 'funny' because it's associated with starvation but the improvisers don't feel competent to deal with 'starvation' on the spur of the moment, so the suggestion paralyses them. Ask for a location that will inspire you, and reject any that don't Derek Flores once accepted 'bathroom', but then exited through the mirror into an A l i c e i n Wonderland universe.
This leads to dreary scenes. Rejecting Suggestions Ask, with just a trace of disapproval or boredom, 'Do people really want to see that? One panicky player agreed to be a buzzard in a scene although she had no idea what a buzzard was the Judges intervened. I invented the Scene Sale as a way to affirm that the players are not the audience's slaves. Use it once and the audience understands instantly that a stupid idea that gets a laugh may be useless as the basis for a scene.
A player becomes an 'auctioneer' and gets the spectators to 'bid' for a scene, checking with the other players to see whether any suggestion inspires them. You want a scene in Brazil? What else are we offered. Does anyone like that idea? The enthusiasm that this creates among the actors gives a reasonable chance that the scene will be worth watching. We can go months without asking the spectators for a suggestion, and yet no one ever mentions the fact.
The audience would rather see good scenes than sit watching players who are uninspired or stymied. If you accept a suggestion, do it. A suggestion may get a laugh, but don't assume that anyone wants to see a scene based on it. In general, the funnier the suggestion, the less use it's likely to be. The Art Of Improvisation Level 4. Collaborative Theatre: Truth in Comedy: The Manual for Improvisation.
Book, Theatre, and Wheel. Noise orders: Structure and Improvisation in Creative Teaching. Shakespeare and Modern Theatre. Its Nature and Practice In Music. Keyboard Harmony and Improvisation, Volume One. Imperialism and Theatre. Women and Victorian Theatre. The Butcher's Theatre. The Theatre of Magick.
The Haymarket Theatre Ghost. Recommend Documents. Stable URL: Improvisation Starters Organizational Improvisation Organizational Improvisation The relatively new field of organizational improvisation is concerned with the pressures