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Improvise.: Scene from the Inside Out Paperback – March 3, 2004
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Award-winning director and experienced improv instructor Mick Napier presents Improvise.: Scene from the Inside Out, now in an expanded and revised second edition with additional tips, tricks, and techniques as well as a full reproduction of Napier's web journal from his time directing "Paradigm Lost" for The Second City. Chapters teach the reader about the oft-misunderstood art of improvisation - creating performance art (comedy, drama, or what-have-you) on the spot with no script, whether by oneself or as part of a group. Topics covered include how to use context to one's advantage, two-person scenes, balanced large-cast scenes, advice for successful auditioning, solo exercises one can practice at home, and much more. Actors of all walks of life (whether their primary venue is improv-heavy or not) will directly benefit from Napier's expertise; comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert certainly did, as he testifies in a brief yet hilarious foreword!
--Midwest Book Review
Mick Napier's Improvise contains excellent examples of actual development of improvisational ideas, showing how dialogue can be improvised and developed with specificity. The Wizard of Oz example is often used, and makes it easy to identify with each of the techniques as they are introduced. The book contains many practical ideas throughout and the breadth of the book is excellent, especially for those who are serious about considering entering the world of improvisation professionally or even as a hobby. Further, audition techniques and a journal from his work with Second City take us into the real world of improvisational theater and help many who are interested in moving in that direction. Mick Napier has really created an exceptional handbook for improvisation.
--Reader's Favorite --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Mick Napier is the founder of the acclaimed Annoyance Theatre in Chicago and New York, as well as a
Director and Artistic Consultant for The Second City, the most influential and prolific comedy theater in the
world. Napier is known both nationally and internationally as an innovator and creative force in comedy,
improvisation, and theater.
With the Annoyance, Mick has spent more than 25 years developing and cultivating a style of work and
production that has been both acclaimed and imitated. As a Director and Artistic Consultant for the globally
renowned Second City, he made his mark, having directed more than 10 revues there including the 40th and 50th
Anniversary revues, and Paradigm Lost, which earned him a Joseph Jefferson Award for Direction. Throughout
his career, Mick has directed such high profile actors and writers as Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer (Swear Jar),
Tina Fey, Jason Sudeikis, and Stephen Colbert (The Second City), Martin Short (Martin Short & Friends,) Jeff
Garlin (I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With), and David and Amy Sedaris in their Obie Award-winning hit One
Woman Shoe. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Spolin's book is an amazing work that can open your eyes up to things like what it means to be an individual, what "training" is and its flaws, what theater is, and what makes a society cohesive. There is no book that will ever supercede Spolin's book. But, it is not practical. It is best understood after one works with a "Spolin" teacher. Gellman's book is great for someone who is already and improviser. Michael Chekhov's writing is very useful to improvisers, but it isn't about how to improvise. This book really is the best, so far, for anyone looking to dive right in and play without a lot of bulls*** getting in the way. Even if new books wrestle that status away from this book in my opinion, this book will remain the succinct summary of the approach used by the most innovative school of improv since Elaine May came up with her kitchen rules.
In this sense, I think that "Truth In Comedy" is the best INTRO to improv, for someone just starting out. Then, I'd recommend "Improvise: Scene From The Inside Out" as a necessary followup, and then Keith Johnstone's "Impro" as a whole new viewpoint and also a deeper insight into the philosophy of being in the moment. (By the way, I would avoid the Viola Spolin book - it's written in a strangely stilted, boring, hard-to-read style, and really contains no memorable information).
Particularly useful in Napier's book are the "Exercises To Do At Home", which is something I've been looking for - most other books have exercises which are meant to be practiced in a group setting.
I found the chapter on "Improvisation & the Second Law Of Thermodynamics" to be unnecessary though - it didn't really add anything and seemed to be sort of a weird tangent. Luckily, it's short.
Anyhow, after reading this book I really do feel as if I understand a lot more about what separates a "great" improviser from a merely "good" one. Now comes the hard part - PRACTICING & GETTING UP THERE AND DOING IT!!!
P.S. I was recommended this book by Dustin Sharpe, my Improv instructor at the Acting School of South Florida, and also a member of the awesome improv group Mod27. Thanks Dustin!
Most recent customer reviews
Direct and incredibly helpful.