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Impro for Storytellers (Theatre Arts (Routledge Paperback)) Paperback – June 24, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0878301058 ISBN-10: 9780878301058 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Theatre Arts (Routledge Paperback)
  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (June 24, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780878301058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878301058
  • ASIN: 0878301054
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Many of these scribblings are gems... [Johnstones] discussion... is of enormous value not only for improvisors, but for playwrights trying to bring something new to the stage... This is not to be missed... A display of the fitful fireworks of an original mind. -- Stagebill Theatre
With this in mind, I honour the seminal writing of Keith Johnstone in the field of improvisation and the great care that he has taken to share, teach and explore his Theatresports theories with drama and acting students, practitioners, researchers and audiences worldwide. -- Research in Drama Education
Impro for Storytellers provides the necessary theoretical underpinning to conceptualise and put into practice improvised forms in a manner that will enhance student learning, and facilitate sound drama pedagogy. -- Research in Drama Education
Johnstones work is as important a contributions to the theatre, actors and drama education as Viola Spolin, Uta Hagen, Gavin Bolton, or Dorothy Heathcote. -- Research in Drama Education
Impro for Storytellers...display(s) the brilliance of Johnstones writing, and his highly accessible style, formatted in a variety of manners ranging from personal narratives, teacher/student dialogues, directorial rants and reflective musings to strategic lesson planning, rationale and uncomplicated illustrations of numerous actor or student activities. -- Research in Drama Education
The book has the potential to be an invaluable resource for teachers, instructors, or directors who have a desire to expand their own understanding of improvised forms, as well as being a superb primer to help augment the repertoire of the student, actor, or performer. -- Research in Drama Education

About the Author

Keith Johnstone worked at the Royal Court Theatre in the 1960s where he developed his techniques for improvisational work. He now teaches at the University of Calgary.

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Customer Reviews

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This book should be every improvisers bible.
adam koppel
Keith Johnstone's earlier work, IMPRO, has influenced and will continue to influence the way acting and improvisation for the theatre are taught.
Algernon D'Ammassa
If you ever get a chance to hear this man talk - go!
Ms. A. Standish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Algernon D'Ammassa on July 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Keith Johnstone's earlier work, IMPRO, has influenced and will continue to influence the way acting and improvisation for the theatre are taught. IMPRO is a book not only about theatre and improv, but about teaching and human interaction, loaded with insights making that book highly suitable for the general reader.
This follow-up is more specialized: a handbook for putting IMPRO into practice, including detailed improv structures for performance and for rehearsal, and chapters on how to teach these games. Sample run lists and notes from performances impart Johnstone's experiences, trials and errors over many years teaching in several countries. The book is exhaustive and beautifully written, but for the general reader, IMPRO is more appropriate.
One disappointment about the book is some sloppy copy-editing. It is rife with typos, of the sort that are not picked out by a computer spell-checker since the typos form actual words.
The title IMPRO FOR STORYTELLERS is, as Tim Sheppard pointed out below, potentially misleading. This is not a book that will help a solo performer generate material, though some of the exercises within can be translated for that purpose. Johnstone's concern is that improv not be restricted to a form of "light entertainment" (think "Who's Line Is It Anyway?"), but as a way of generating narrative and using it to explore human relationships.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael Guthrie on January 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, in contrast with his last one, is much more linear and down-to-earth, but every bit as powerful. He dives straight into 'how-to' mode, decribing his own version of improv theater. This might be a little tedious for those not interested in licencing a "Theatersports" venue in their own town, but hang in there. He quickly gets to the meat of simply creating good improv, what behaviours and actions get you there, and how to sustain it. This is a book 100% designed to assist the improviser, both the individual, as well as the 'group'. He even goes so far as to provide shortcut lists in the appendix for use in performance! Keith Johnstone is a visonary, and I'm convinced that whatever theater will look like in the coming years, he will have inspired much of it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tim Sheppard on June 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Not many practical manuals are also fun to just read, but this one is - funny, incisive, witty, philosophical and more. It is tremendously useful in many ways. I'm involved in applying impro, but not for Theatre Sports or comedy impro, yet this book is invaluable. My only annoyance is that it should be called Storytelling for Improvisors instead. If you are a storyteller hoping to learn how to improvise stories, this book will not address that directly for you, although if you absorb all the insight you'll get a lot of practical help. Johnstone's comments and analysis are very thought provoking, and reveal a great deal about human nature and the way our minds (and inhibitions) work. Any psychologist could learn a lot here too. If you are after a bumper book of games, go no further - this details a large number, but also with expert advice on how to teach and run the games, including warnings about all the variations that don't work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By adam koppel on December 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book should be every improvisers bible. As if Impro wasn't enough, Johnstone's new book focuses solely on improv, while his last dealt a great deal with his personal past and teachings. Johnstone describes tons of incredible short-form games, which could all be used in developing a long-form troupes unity and confidence. There is not much else to say, but if you consider yourself an improviser this book should live on your bedstand.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sydney on September 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is quite a large book, pretty much entirely made up of a wide variety of games for actors with vivid examples of what students come up with under pressure, and thorough explanations of the goal of each excercise. It's extremely well written and just as good as something to sit down and read, as something to get up and play with.

The games range from easy to very hard; many would make excellent fun warm-ups to introduce non-actors to basic acting theory and to interacting with an audience. What makes this book unusual for an acting text is the emphasis on story, and the highly audience-centric approach to performance.

I would seriously recommend this book to writers, screenwriters, and story artists. The ultimate goal for Johnstone is to teach his improvisers to hook the audience and keep them hooked by altering tactics, reversing, raising the stakes, setting up expectations. Throughout, his unexpected cry of "Be obvious! Don't be creative!" keeps the story being invented on an engaging emotional level.

I bought this because I'm teaching a class involving some acting, but found so many exciting ideas for plotting I want to send a copy to everyone I know in story. First rate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Z. Stones on September 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you're going to read only one book about improvisation, read this. If you read two books, wait a month or two and read this again. I've been part of a professional improv performance group for the last five years and every time I read this book it fills me with new levels of information and wisdom.

Many people never discover this book because they read Johnstone's first book, Impro, and find it difficult to apply as well as not very relevant once it delves into the eccentric world of mask work. Impro for Storytellers is highly relevant, contains many games, exercises, and suggestions to try, and is a highly entertaining read. I recommend reading this first and reading Impro later if you enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed it over and over again.
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