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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant guide for actors and teachers
one of those very few books that can change how you work in fundamental ways... Brilliantly funny, thoughtful and perceptive about the ways that teachers deal with their students and the games they unintentionally or unconsciously play with each other in classrooms; highly practical in its sections on mask, narratives, spontaneity, and improvisation; subversive and...
Published on 14 Jan. 2000 by williamst@isb.be

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good chapter on status but there are better improv books
There seem to be two distinct camps in improv; those who follow Keith Johnstone's teaching and those who prefer Del Close's. I'll be upfront and say I prefer the latter but I believe both schools can learn from each other.

The best part of this book is the chapter on status. It not only provides great information for improvisers but it also gives some...
Published on 7 Sept. 2011 by J. LLOYD


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant guide for actors and teachers, 14 Jan. 2000
one of those very few books that can change how you work in fundamental ways... Brilliantly funny, thoughtful and perceptive about the ways that teachers deal with their students and the games they unintentionally or unconsciously play with each other in classrooms; highly practical in its sections on mask, narratives, spontaneity, and improvisation; subversive and constructive at the same time. Sadly, very much better than his follow-up 'Impro in storytelling 'which recycles many of the ideas from this. As it says above - buy it, share it...
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Human interaction masterclass for everyone, not just improvisers, 4 Jun. 2007
By 
Mr. S. Miettinen "Improver" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Keith Johnstone is a visionary in the field of improvisation theatre. His concepts of status hierarchies are ground-breaking. They show that humans, like animals, are at ease with each other when the underlying status hierarchy is understood and undisputed.

However, all kinds of interesting tensions are created when the status hierarchy IS disputed. For actors, this concept from Keith's book is golden:

1) If you want to be seen as a natural performer, you need to know your status in relation to the other humans, and even things around you.

2) If you want to create interesting drama, you and your co-actors need to manipulate your statuses in interesting ways. These dynamic movements and challenges are interesting and funny for the audience.

Keith describes this and much, much more in his fascinating book. The generous use of actual improvisation situations makes the book very hands-on, funny and analytical.

Impro also expands from improvisation acting to such areas as creative writing, teaching and mask and trance work. Even the bits one does not agree with are superbly constructed and offer an insightful view on the sometimes weird and wonderful world of creative minds at work.

The improvisation actors in such shows as "Whose line is it anyway?" or London's Comedy Store borrow many of their techniques from Keith.

This book is one to read, whether you are an actor, spectator or just plain interested in smooth, congruent human interactions. Pure genius.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unleash your imagination..., 28 Aug. 2001
not a very creative summary, but it's true. I've owned this book for a number of years and have kept going back to it for creative impetus. I'm in no way associated with theatre (though I did go once), in fact my career is very humdrum and involves maths, computers and finance! The point is that I've used the books techniques in each of these areas to help boost my creativity. It contains some great techniques and I found the writing very clear, precise and (of course)original. Most books on creativity tend to be very 'uncreative' and keep repeating the same ideas. I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone looking to kick start their imagination in any area.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 12 Oct. 2005
By 
Of all the drama theory books I have read, this was certainly the most enjoyable. I found myself reading it as though it were a fictional storybook, thoroughy enjoying every word. Johnstone completely changes your perspective on imagination and being 'creative' or 'uncreative'. the best bit about it is that half of what he explains you kid of realise you knew all along, but were never aware of it, like 'cencoring' the first idea to ocme into our head. Impro has certainly helped me with my Theatre Studies Degree course! a must have for anyone who finds the imagination fasscinating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential handbookfor anyone wanting to work with Masks, 2 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
This book is worth buying for the chapters on Mask and trance alone. Johnstone took risks in his work at The Royal Court in the 50's andf 60's before others even thought abut it...and despite opposition from Directors used Masks in rehearsal and for development of Actors. Today it is the most widely used text in working with masks in therapy, not only forits creativity, but for its clear and structured accounts of creating safety and the potency of the mask. Buy it, use and tell others about it....its a priceless gem of a book...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lost for inspiriation? try this., 13 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
a great book for making you think about where you are in theatre.also gives good adeas which you can adapt yourself into your own ideas. good chapter on status which provokes alot of thought-dont be surprised in you no longer move out of the way when faced with a person coming towards you in the street!
Good book for drama students-particularly in your viva's!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly excellent, both to read and for it's insights, 24 Oct. 2008
By 
Richard Griffiths "SoulFireMage" (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This is an excellent, concise and insightful book that gave me a whole new view of human interaction. Just that alone has allowed me to see through my own daily interactions with friends and colleagues. The first chapter that discusses status will have you hooked for the remainder of the book. You'll read it twice, in the first week or two I suspect. Well worth your time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare joy, 30 Dec. 2008
i'm disappointed to say i discovered this book only after graduating from university; which is a shame as i think Johnstones writing is the sort of thing that would excite any up and coming drama student. my worn and well read copy now follows me round the country working in both professional and amateur theatre alike.
the section on Mask and trance is like nothing else you'll ever read, and is presented in a way that is totally engaging. having gone on to use this technique, i wonder how i ever rehearsed without it!
a must have for anyone interested in the creation of true theatre
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still crazy, after all these years, 17 Oct. 2010
It's a brilliant, practical book, and things like this don't really date much because it's about the essence of dramatic improvisation. It changed how I taught and directed students nearly 30 years ago, and I bet it still could do so for those who havn't retired! The insights into status apply to life all round us - on any crowded city street, you can see status plays forming and resolving. Fascinating.
The one-star review, by the way, related to Amazon and not the content of the book, which doesn't seem quite right.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good chapter on status but there are better improv books, 7 Sept. 2011
By 
J. LLOYD "Lloydie" (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There seem to be two distinct camps in improv; those who follow Keith Johnstone's teaching and those who prefer Del Close's. I'll be upfront and say I prefer the latter but I believe both schools can learn from each other.

The best part of this book is the chapter on status. It not only provides great information for improvisers but it also gives some interesting insights into human behaviour. It's worth buying for that part alone.

My problem with this book is not so much the theory it provides, but the way in which it is written. There is something a dry that made reading this, at times, a little dull for me - and I'm an improv nerd. It's a shame because there's no doubt that Keith Johnstone has contributed a huge amount to improv around the world.

This book is hailed as a "must read" by many improvisers. I think it's a useful addition for hard-core improvisers but not an ideal first book for someone starting out. I'd recommend "Truth In Comedy" by Del Close and Charna Halpern - not simply because I prefer their take on improv, but also because it's easier to follow and provides more exercises that you can go and do with an improv group.
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