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Why Is That So Funny?: A Practical Exploration of Physical Comedy [Paperback]

John Wright
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

28 April 2006
A practical investigation of how comedy works, by an inspirational practitioner and teacher.

Comedy is recognised as one of the most problematic areas of performances. For that reason, it is rarely written about in any systematic way. John Wright, founder of Trestle Theatre and Told by an Idiot, brings a wide range of experience of physical comedy to this unique exploration of comedy and comedic techniques.

Why Is That So Funny? opens with an analysis of the different kinds of laughter that can be provoked by performance. This is followed by the main part of the book: games and exercises devised to demonstrate and investigate the whole range of comic possibilities open to a performer.

Why Is That So Funny? will be invaluable to teachers, students and performers and fascinating for anyone interested in how comedy works.

Frequently Bought Together

Why Is That So Funny?: A Practical Exploration of Physical Comedy + The Moving Body (le Corps Poetique): Teaching Creative Theatre (Performance Books) + Finding Your Voice: A Complete Voice Training Manual for Actors (Nick Hern Books)
Price For All Three: £32.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books (28 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854597825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854597823
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


John Wright's magnum opus... a real labour of love and it is hard to believe that there is any aspect of the subject that he does not explore and explain...essential. --British Theatre Guide

A must for any budding physical comedy performers - and an inspiration for everyone who treads the boards, whether they think of themselves as 'comedic' or not. --Total Theatre Magazine

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real work and highly recommended! 29 Dec 2006
This book clearly lays out the fundamentals of John Wright's work. It breaks apart acting clichés and the far too frequent stuffiness of theater. It gives theater makers and performers tools and practical exercises that really work. And it will help you to make work! He draws on his vast experience and explorations with actors and other great master teachers and theater makers. His work is liberating and inspiring and this book reads that way. And it's about alot more than just comedy. It will make you want to go out and make a play right away. Your work will be better for it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars old dog - new tricks 25 July 2007
First a confession: a few years ago I was subject to ritual humiliation in one of John Wright's workshops - each time I reluctantly clambered to my feet to engage with one of his exercises my efforts were greeted by a forest of hands telling me I was patently not interesting and certainly not amusing. (Read the book for reference to this exercise) I went away feeling bruised and somewhat resentful of those to whom clowning and buffoonery appeared to come easily. It was only later that I realised I had been taught an incredibly valuable lesson, and one that should have been obvious to a drama professional: always pay attention to your audience - they will let you know if they like what you are doing - and if they don't - try doing something else.

This book is a manual of useful exercises; a personal philosophy of performance; and a lifelong journey of discovery and exploration around the broad area of theatrical clowning and physical comedy. It is written in a jargon-free style, whose use of self-effacing anecdote made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions. The descriptions of the exercises are precise and detailed, enabling the experienced teacher to visualise and adapt easily. The book has a resemblance to Keith Johnstone's classic text 'Impro', in both its structural format and its very real enjoyment of and passionate engagement with its subject matter. In a time where educators are encouraged to 'facilitate' rather than teach, where the notion of 'failure' has been erased from the curriculum, John Wright teaches us the most valuable lesson of all - failure is fundamentally and absolutely how we learn - we just have to 'keep getting up', keep taking risks, and keep trying new things - and always, always, watch the audience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inciteful and useful 10 Mar 2010
A very interesting book with lots of practical workshop ideas. I tried out some of the exercises with my students and they worked really well. It is also interesting for any theatre students who wish to know more about the work of LeCoq in Paris
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an easy book to read 25 Feb 2009
i'm about half way through this and it's the best book on acting i've read. It helps if you can actually get off the page and do some of the exercises. It's also a good read, written by someone who doesn't seem to buy into all the BS you find in a lot of academic texts.

If your interested in creating your own work it has lot's of games to help your ideas develop in interesting ways. I would have thought it would also be an excellent tool if you teach acting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars funny and fascinating 16 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This has been a very informative book. Great for students and teachers wanting to understand and develop comedic style. I love the conversational style with lots of progressional games - excellent for a variety of age groups, provided you have had some training.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, insightful and practical 3 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have loved reading this book, it is really full of wisdom and experience in a no nonsense kinda way. I think it is a great practical book for actors at whatever stage of their career they are. John is a master and worth hearing what he has to say
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