The Art of Chicago Improv: Short Cuts to Long-Form Improvisation Paperback – Feb 26 2002
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About the Author
Rob Kozlowski has studied and performed improvisational theatre in Chicago for nearly a decade. He is a founding member of the Playground Theatre, the nation's only non-profit improv co-op. He also teaches at Columbia College Chicago.
Top Customer Reviews
There are an ENORMOUS number of personal pronouns in this thing. I mean, every page has seven or eight names of actors or directors associated with a particular theatre or show. I kept reading it, thinking, "Who? Who? WHO? I guess the name doesn't matter, it's the gist of the thing... Who? Who? Who? Where? A basement theatre? An angry landlord? Who? Where?"
To me, the murky throughline is what's important: the growth of the improv community, the innovations, the development of the art form.
I think this book would have benefitted readers if it had *synthesized* the changes in the art form over time, rather than miring itself in the "description of the crack in the wall" detail. I mean, hasn't videotape been invented yet?
When a chapter featurs an interview, or some kind of summary or encapsulation, it's wonderful. It overcomes its inferiority complex about Chicago theatre for a brief insightful moment, abandoning its chip-on-the-shoulder need for name-dropping minutiae.
I was more interested in its thoughts on long-form improvistaion in general which it did spend some time with. It highlighted some basic tips, some different structures (as opposed to the Harold which most long-formers are at least familiarly with, including La Ronde, Close Quarters, Deconstruction and others), differing long-form philosophies, and finally some predictions on the future of the form. I didn't find many "shortcuts" for the performer.
If you're looking for a "how to", I'd recommend Truth In Comedy (which this book makes frequent reference to). But if you're looking for the "why and where," this is an interesting book to pick up.
True it can be a little bewildering to keep track of all the names and places, especially if you live outsode of Chicago. However the creation and growth of the form make for a nice read.
A great book for people new to long form who want more history than Del Close & Charna Halpern.
Now if I could only get my copy back from Erik with a K.
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