Great, thorough descriptions of lots of great group warm-ups and scene exercises. It's not a vast new continent of never-before-seen improv, but it's the clearest map I've ever seen of the very tricky terrain of group dynamics, which can make or break a performance group (or any group, for that matter). Peter Gwinn writes in a fun and playful conversational tone and the accompanying retro-tastic photos of improvisers at play are, frankly, adorable. I have met folks who trained with Gwinn, and now I join them in their wish to hug him for this contribution to the craft. Gracias!
For anyone coaching/directing or if you're playing on a team where you need to break into new territories and develop new forms, these games are a perfect start. This book explains what the important parts of each game are so that you bring the actual lessons to stagework, not just horse around and forget. I highly recommend the book.
...to Charna Halpern's "Truth and Comedy." Gwinn takes an actor-centric approach to long-form improvisation, developing characters the way Del Close intended them to be. He grounds his games in terminology befitting any advanced acting technique, exploring emotion and motivation over the tricks and gimmicks synonymous with shows like "Whose Line is it Anyway?" Gwinn has been performing and teaching at Chicago's Improv Olympic for nearly a decade, so he knows his stuff. That being said, as articulate as this book is, it should serve as a supplement, not a substitute, for first-hand experience or training in long- or short-form comedy improvisation.
I really wanted it to be 0 stars. but that is not an option. I thought this book was really bad. I wanted to learn more about improv, and this didn't tell me anything new, and it's pretty basic stuff. There are better books out there....I also do not reccomend Truth in Comedy by C Halpern. Improv is more about feeling and being in the moment, and not going by the "book." Both of these books must have been written by people who did a lot of watching, and not a lot of doing.
Man, this book is awesome! P.C. Gwinn has done it again! (itï¿½s also nice to Charna Halpern putting pen to paper once again, even if it is only one chapter) I like the chapter about the clapping. Everyone, everywhere, regardless of improv skill or interest, should read this book! I took it into my office and one guy was like, "What's that? Some kind of book?" I said ï¿½Yes sir! Itï¿½s some kind of book!ï¿½ Do yourself a favor and order it now!