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Who would have ever thought that learning the finer points of improvisation could be such fun? The "Harold," an innovative improvisational tool, helped Saturday Night Live's Mike Myers and Chris Farley, George Wendt (Norm on "Cheers") and many other actors on the road to TV and film stardom. Now it is described fully in this new book for the benefit of other would-be actors and comics. The "Harold" is a form of competitive improv involving six or seven players. They take a theme suggestion from the audience and free-associate on the theme, creating a series of rapid-fire one-liners that build into totally unpredictable skits with hilarious results. The teams compete with scoring based on applause. The "Harold" is a fun way to "loosen up" and learn to think quickly, build continuity, develop characterizations and sharpen humor.
The brain wave of three improv gurus, this book is a complete guide to improvisation for both novice and professional actors and comics. An outgrowth of the successful curriculum initiated by two of the authors at the ImprovOlympic, it describes improvisational tools and techniques, from the "Pattern Game" and "The Hot Spot" to the innovative and sophisticated "Harold." Far from an ordinary how-to handbook, this clearly composed authority on comedic improvisation stresses intuitive thinking, listening skills, continuity, characterization, and, most important, teamwork. Numerous testimonials from reputed actors strengthen the text's credibility, already secured by the expertise of its authorship. Sample scenes and games take hilarious twists while illustrating the inevitability of connections and the importance of justification among team members. The authors' primary focus is the achievement of the group mind, and the book's chapter construction necessarily culminates with that creative misnomer known as the Harold. The manual is flexibly designed to allow for easy performance in both acting classes and professional settings and will prove a valuable reference source to actors and directors alike. Kathleen ChryslerSee all Product Description
Pretty good. A few terms are used without being defined so a newbie might need to go in search of definitions. Otherwise, a new improviser will learn a lot of the basics. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Carrie Hunter
the anecdotes and examples of comedy are pretty hokey, but as a guide for understanding improv, this book is fantastic.Published on Nov. 12 2010 by windomearle
I think this book is a complete waste of time and merely serves as a lure to get people to take classes at the Improv Olympic theater in Chicago. Read morePublished on March 10 2004
the author of this book is a laugh riot. I had a hard time getting past the name dropping and self congradulatory, over the top story telling. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2004
This is THE book. If you'll only listen to its ideas about support and listening, this is the only text instruction you'll ever need. Read morePublished on Dec 21 2003
This book has one major gaff. It tries to squeeeeeeze in the improv basics, while it teaches the advanced "Harold". Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2003
If you think "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" is funny, and that's the kind of comedy you want to do, then this might help. I personally don't care for that. Read morePublished on July 10 2003
This book provides a good overview of the skills needed to perform improv commedy, but you can't learn improv this way. Read morePublished on May 29 2003
To be honest, I don't know why I wanted this book. I had been spending a lot of time at ImprovOlympic and was even thinking about taking classes there, but I feared my wit wasn't... Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2002 by Sean D. Francis