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Impro [Paperback]

Keith Johnstone
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 2008 Performance Books

“A hundred practical techniques for encouraging spontaneity and originality by catching the subconscious unawares . . . here is an inexhaustible supply of zany suggestions for unfreezing the petrified imagination.”—Daily Telegraph

Keith Johnstone is an internationally recognized authority in the field of improvisation. His books, Impro and Impro for Storytellers, have been translated into many languages. He leads master classes in improvisation around the world.

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'A hundred practical techniques for encouraging spontaneity and originality by catching the subconscious unawares... here is an inexhaustible supply of zany suggestions for unfreezing the petrified imagination.' Daily Telegraph 'If you don't have this book - get it quick... Johnstone's insights are as powerfully clear as ever... It's a treasure trove of ideas and methods; it will ease and enrich work and studies... An invigorating read.' Reviews Gate (August 2007) 'For insight into a truly creative mind, read Impro.' Psychologies (February 2010)

About the Author

Keith Johnstone is an internationally recognized authority in the field of improvisation. His books Impro, and Impro For Storytellers, have been translated into many languages. He leads master classes in improvisation around the world.

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As I grew up, everything started getting grey and dull. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Keith Johnstone is a maverick educator and theatrical innovator.
This book, first published in 1979, remains the most important book on improvisation written in English.
Johnstone divides the world of improvising into four categories:Spontenaity, Narrative, Status and Masks.
The stories about his own loss of creativity through the demands of public education set the frame for his illuminating description of what it takes to return us all to our creative selves.
This book is a must read for anyone involved in the creative process, for all teachers of the arts and anyone who has ever wondered where his creativity has gone.
Patricia Ryan,
Head of Acting
Stanford University
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rule Brittania! Feb. 22 2002
I suggest that you follow Amazon's recommendation and buy it with the acompanying sequel "Impro for Storytellers"
Hmm...Let's see:
Once upon a time there was a brilliant little boy who lived in an alternative universe so he had mercifully never heard of Viola Spolin.
Therefore instead of following standard improv exercises such as 'mirror' or 'tug of war on the imaginary rope' He began creating his own.
These wre not dependant on the Spolin credo of agreeing on the 'Who, What, When and Where'. Rather our young hero was more fascinated by 'Why?' or in plainer English, 'Why should either the audience or the actors give a (expletive deleted) about this improv exercise? What's its value and moreover, could it apply to acting in general?
Consequently through experimentation, a contrary kind of courage ('My acting teachers told me never to make faces as it was untruthful, so I mugged whenever I could') and a curious interest in the transformative power of Mask work--which was out of fashion in The West since the fall of Athens--arrived at some startingly new discoveries for character work as well as Improv.
He then moved to Canada, opened his own troupe, and the rest, as they say is history . . .
Let's see, did I leave anything out? Oh Yes, a practical piece of advice and a cryptic remark to end this review:
1. If the library is burning and you have a choice of saving Stanislavski's trilogy or these two books, save Johnstone's
2. Beware of Boris (to say nothing of Igor)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not a theatre book, but a teacher's manifesto June 19 2001
Keith Johnstone's book has influenced countless acting classes. Many artists who have not yet heard of this book are doing exercises based on his experiments in England with actors using improvisation to discover status operations within a scene, narrative structure, and the importance of structure and process over "content" (a sticking point for the improvisator, the public speaker, and everyone who has ever said, 'I can't think of anything.') It also provides one of the best short introductions to mask work around. So it might seem like an indispensable theatre book. And it is that. Indispensable.
Yet read Johnstone's first chapter - a memoir of his early teaching career, in which he discovered the process by which children learn to be uncreative as a tragic coping skill. This is not a theatre book. Theatre classes were the arena, but this is a book about teaching! This is about opening doors that have been slammed shut, and acquainting people with the creativity and exuberance that is everybody's birthright. The exercises, and analyses of his students' work with improvisation, along with Johnstone's unflagging faith in every person's imagination, have much to show us even on repeated readings and practice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The actor's bible July 13 1998
By A Customer
If you're in love with acting, then you'll be in love with this book. It's not one of those does and donts manuals, boring and technical, no it's full of life. Johnstone looks into your heart and will tell you about your blocks and fears and how to release them. His style is compelling and convincing and he won't shy away from making you feel bad once in a while, because he's telling the truth about acting. But it's not only about acting. reading this book you'll find out a lot about yourself and the way you behave/ act in life and to what effect you do it. The games he writes about can be played as such - namely games - with friends, or you can use them in school or in manager-tutoring (see the chapter about hirarchy) or as warm-up and instructional games before a rehearsal. The book will also broaden your mind and help you free your creativity, just by reading it! So it does all sorts of weird and wonderful things to you: Whatever you do in your life, this book will! ! make it better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This isn't a theatre book: it's THE theatre book April 26 2002
I first came actoss this book when I first got interested in theatre in the early 80s in England, and I couldn't believe what I was reading. If theatre is a search for truth, then Johnstone exemplifies this with a fundamentalist's zeal.
Eschewing formula and "how to" guides, he presents improvisation on the stage as less of a craft and more a state of mind. His "bookending" of his practical advice with an angry account of his time spent as a teacher at the beginning of the book and his work on masks and trance in the last section underlines this.
Johnstone's book is a must for anybody wanting to improvise effectively on a stage, anyone wanting to use drama as a teaching or therapeutic tool, and an essential for anybody interested in the practical exploration of the subconscious mind and its workings.
It's a manual for creativity. It's an essential for an artist in any discipline. No: scrub the majority of that sentence. It's an essential, period.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Definitive, but Very Worthwhile
After many years of being wary about Johnstone's book, I've finally given in. My initial response was that while other improv texts cover the "Hows" this one covered the... Read more
Published on June 16 2009 by BowlingPete
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master has spoken...
Keith Johnstone is nothing less than brilliant. This book inspires, challenges, and moves me to do more. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely entrancing
I'm not an actor, have no experience of improvisational theatre (not even seen any!), but I loved this book. Read more
Published on May 15 2003 by Marco Polo
3.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but difficult to judge
Impro is divided in four sections, Status, Spontaneity, Narrative Skills, and Masks and Trance. The most interesting section, Status, discusses how general physical attitudes... Read more
Published on June 2 2002 by Francois Tremblay
5.0 out of 5 stars I had the great fortune
to study with Keith at the University of Calgary and to work with him at the Loose Moose Theater, and it had a tremendous impact on my life. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2001 by P. C. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of creativity! Buy this book!
This book is the absolute bible of improv and acting. Keith Johnstone takes you step by step through his approach to teaching. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2000 by "sarahtacey"
5.0 out of 5 stars It's more than just a book about Improvisation . . .
This book is the one that I carry around with me and refer to constantly. It should be in the collection of every serious actor, writer and director - but almost anyone can... Read more
Published on May 17 2000 by Paul Norton
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading
Johnstone's book is one of the two or three books in the field of Improvisational Theater that is a must read. Read more
Published on Dec 29 1999 by Eric Farone
5.0 out of 5 stars Central School of Speech and Drama
This is essential reading for anyone on the Drama and Education Course at Central!
Published on Nov. 19 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Impro is actually 6 distinct books in one.
This book is actually 6 books in one. Apart from being one of the foremost authorities in the art of improv theater (1), it is 2)the finest example (I've found)of comic theory;... Read more
Published on Sept. 3 1999
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