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Improvisation for the Theater

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Here is the thoroughly revised third edition of the bible of improvisational theater.

Viola Spolin's improvisational techniques changed the very nature and practice of modern theater. The first two editions of Improvisation for the Theater sold more than 100,000 copies and inspired actors, directors, teachers, and writers in theater, television, film. These techniques have
Paperback, Third Edition, 412 pages
Published July 28th 1999 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1963)
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Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Viola Spolin revolutionized the acting profession - her work gave rise to the Second City school of improvisation that is the foundation of so many of today's comedic actors. But, her first love, and the reason you will want to read this book, is her love for children and their education. I had the pleasure of meeting Spolin on a couple occasions. Her training class for teachers in the LASD was phenomenal - but, alas, she was unable to completely renew a profession that has sunk into the mud. If ...more
Robyn Sayles
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biz-books
My improv training has helped me more in my life and my career than most of my formal training. Spolin is the master.
Brian Hischier
Dec 05, 2007 rated it liked it
You can judge the book by the vest the author is wearing on the cover.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Classic
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An amazing resource, essential for any teacher of theatre or director of amateur theatre. Spolin has a system, perfected from years of experience, for taking actors of any age and polishing the rough qualities from performance. The idea is to present problems that directly challenge the actor to come up with organic solutions, therefore teaching by experience rather than through lecture or rote repetition of dogmatic ideas. The focus is on improvisational theatre, but these improvisational activ ...more
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-again
For an Activity Course I will be teaching next year.

After it was stolen, I never got it back, however I got enough information out of it to know that this is for a very intense and serious improvisation class. Not exactly what I needed it for. Some of the ideas were great and translated to other games that I knew, but most of these are too focus-driven for my purposes. Read only if you are looking to teach serious actors serious Improv.
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Reading this is like reading some of the books in the old testament. This guy begat him who begat that fella who begat a group of dudes. It's more of a reference book, and it's very '60s touchie feelie but still has some great stuff.
Bruce Snyder
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I used this to devise my own theater class back in the early 80's. I still use it today when I do workshops for the music camp and Pied Piper summer camps. The first edition was useful; I haven't seen the 1999 version.
Marie Umerkajeff
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful basic as well as complicated book totally necessary for me as a drama teacher and also for me as a human being.
Jan 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pedagogy
For CTAR 323 Improvising and Role Play class reading

Viola Spolin dedicated this book to her drama teacher, Neva Boyd (Handbook of Recreational Games)
I appreciate the appendixes on definition of key terms, side-coaching phrases, new exercises and traditional games. It's very useful for ESL class.
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theater
A valuable resource for my teaching.
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Improvisors, theater people
I learned so much from this book. As a teacher and director its a must have on your bookshelf.
Alex Gordon
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this is a must read on the subject. So many exercises in here. Wow! just thinking about it makes me want to start up an improv group to try them all!!! :)
Mary Louise
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Viola really knows her stuff. Her 96-page list of Reminders and Pointers should be memorized by heart, or better, copied and distributed to everyone, art directors and bosses of every stripe.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The "bible" of improv and learning the ways of the greats.
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Improv
Recommended to Kerry by: Players Workshop, Second City
This is one of my reference books, which I keep on hand when I feel I need a refresher. Definitely is a great companion to the Second City training program.
Mar 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thegood
She's Brilliant
Will Craighead
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
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