Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre

Category: Performing Arts
Author: Keith Johnstone
All Hacker News 8
This Month Hacker News 1


by DyslexicAtheist   2020-06-29
I think comedy is one of the hardest things to pull off commercially. I did some attempts at stand-up at local open mics and it was brutal (mostly). It also taught me that the crowd is unpredictable (the success of a joke depends not on how good the joke is). Creativity and coming up with genuinely funny shit for me is linked to not paying attention to what your audience might want to read in the same way as an author who "writes for an audience". It kills your authenticity.

while pandering to your audience is bad you _do_ need feedback - so a catch 22. If you have a chance to play with ideas with a couple of other writers/comedians who take the process serious, feedback worth gold because nothing beats bouncing your ideas off one another. the other route is to try to do it all by yourself like Stewart Lee[1][2] who is imho a comedy god - but it requires insane levels of dedication, self-control and tenacity to get there (alone). Whether you're into comedy or not, Stewart Lee's "Content Provider" (imho) is a must watch for anyone who thinks about digital media (most people who reads HN).

one of my favorite sources on how to constantly be creative (not just in in the space of comedy) is John Cleese[3] and Keith Johnstone's "Impro"[4].



by maroonblazer   2019-05-23
In addition to the other advice I'll add this:

-Take an acting class. Or an improv class, if that's easier to find. But acting classes address anxiety more effectively I think.

-Read "Impro" by Keith Johnstone[0]

I've had social anxiety since adolescence and eventually learned how to pretend to be functional socially. It involved a lot of observing of others for whom this came naturally and forcing myself into social situations where I could practice. Eventually you find that the people you interact with can make all the difference between this being 'work' vs 'fun'. Then you seek out the latter as much as possible to form your social network.


by spython   2017-08-19
"Impro" by Keith Johnstone. It may seem like a book on improvisational theater, but is more a collection of notes on interaction between people. Quite eye-opening and empowering. Would recommend to anyone.
by d_r   2017-08-19
There is an excellent discussion of status games in the book "Impro." Highly recommend it if you're interested in hacking the non-tech side of things.

by walterbell   2017-08-19
Find a couple of friends to be a sympathetic audience, then give your 90-second speech as a description of the emotions and reactions that are running through your head. Describe them in real time, use the emotions as fuel instead of reasoning with them.

From "Impro",

"... Once you learn to accept offers, then accidents can no longer interrupt the action. When someone's chair collapsed, Stanislavsky berated him for not continuing, for not apologising to the character whose house he was in. This attitude makes for something really amazing in the theatre. The actor who will accept anything that happens seems supernatural; it's the most marvellous thing about improvisation: you are suddently in contact with people who are unbounded, whose imagination seems to function without limit."