Customer Reviews: The Improv Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Improvising in Comedy, Theatre, and Beyond
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Customer Reviews

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on January 7, 2016
Excellent, thank you!!!
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on June 16, 2015
Great for work in Sales industry
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on April 25, 2015
I was hoping for less theory and more practical use for coaching long form iMptov. The games/exercises suggested were tacked onot the end like an after thought.
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on March 29, 2015
Very pleased with this purchase and this seller. A+++
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on November 17, 2014
Awesome book! It explains so much about improv.
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on September 12, 2013
This book was a wonderful aide in further developing a beginning improvisation course for middle and high school students. Great resource for an acting and/or theatre educator.
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on August 1, 2013
A nice big book with tons of help for your improv. It is a thick book of substance and I recommend it highly.
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on April 27, 2013
I'm a professional improv performer that recently started teaching 100-level improvisation classes, but my program doesn't have a specific curriculum and it's been years upon years since I took a formal class. Another teacher I trust recommended this book, and I found it invaluable for its deep insights into the teaching process. Not just a suggested syllabus, but the expected insights when teaching these tools and how to roll with the punches. Even after many many years in improv, there are exercises in here that I wouldn't have thought of.

That said, the game references aren't comprehensive, and they aren't indexed by the skills they emphasize. It helps to have more background knowledge of deeper theory even if you're not exposing too much of that, so I'd recommend a companion book like Truth in Comedy, Spolin's work, or Impro. I don't think this book is quite enough to teach yourself improv without some additional context. In particular I found the syllabus lacking in a few areas around stagecraft and onstage focus, concepts my students needed earlier guidance in that I ended up cobbling together from other sources. But the storytelling, character and environment elements are pretty well covered.

It's also fun to read; the honest insights are surprising at times and there are little Australian anachronisms that are fun to catch. The authors' honest takes on some of the "standard" games are refreshing - some games are difficult without much actual educational payoff, and it's good to see someone acknowledging that.

A great reference for the beginning instructor!
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on March 7, 2013
Full explanation of Improv 'games' with author's critique. Easy to use and fun ideas. A great resource for the beginning improv class.
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on February 27, 2013
A great book for beginning and advanced improvisors that explains exactly what the mechanics are of the authors' interpretation of the Keith Johnstone school of improvisation, and for that it deserves 5 stars. But the authors deeply misunderstand and arrogantly dismiss the entire Chicago/Del Close school of improv, under the guise of Keith and Del being equally valid methods.

At the beginning they explain that there are differences and that they'll give fair treatment to both, but then proceed for several hundred pages to denigrate the Chicago school for reasons that are invalid, and which shows they have limited understanding of what they're talking about. It's as if those parts were added late in the book's development when someone noticed that "ultimate" really only meant "half ultimate".

An example of bias can be found in the short interviews at the end where of all the wise words of Keith Johnstone (who they label "The Innovator") they could have used, they instead focus on Keith saying that Del's work doesn't particularly fit with his views on improvisation (my paraphrasing). It doesn't help that they then included an interview with the mildly dismissive Charna Halpern (who they by comparison label simply "The Keeper of the Harold"), with questions based on misunderstandings of Del's teachings.

To their credit they do try to explain some Chicago techniques, but there's a lot of misunderstandings. At one point they talk abut "game" being a core Harold concept, taking it from the book "Truth in Comedy", thus confusing the UCB which focusses on game as the core of a scene, and iO and other Chicago schools which consider it just another tool in your kitbag. Another misunderstanding is Chicago's "heightening", which they think is the same as the "absurdity curve",

The book should be renamed to "The Impro Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Improvising the Keith Johnstone way", so that anyone in the U.S. or learning the Chicago style, doesn't buy it thinking that it refers directly to them. There will be nuggets for the Chicago improvisor, but warning should be given that many of the techniques don't apply very well to Chicago style play.
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