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Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation…
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Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation (edition 1994)

by Charna Halpern

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1291167,793 (3.61)1
The 'Harold', an innovative improvisational tool, helped many actors on the road to TV and film stardom, including George Wendt (Norm on Cheers). Now it is described fully in this new book for would-be actors and comics. The 'Harold' is a form of competitive improv involving 6 or 7 players. They take a theme suggestion from the audience and 'free associate' on the theme into a series of rapid-fire one-liners that build into totally unpredictable skits with hilarious results. The 'Harold' is a fun way to 'loosen up' and learn to think quickly, build continuity, develop characterisations and sharpen humour.… (more)
Member:Meriwether
Title:Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation
Authors:Charna Halpern
Info:Meriwether Publishing (1994), Edition: 1, Paperback, 150 pages
Collections:Your library
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Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation by Charna Halpern

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This book lays out the various improv concepts of Second City and ImprovOlympic (IO Theater) and describes the synthesis of the long form format "the Harold".

It lays out the principal concepts of improv scene work and lays the stage for concepts to build on top of one another for comedic performance.

There is a good amount of praise for the author's teachings from various Hollywood comics including SNL cast members Mike Myers, Chris Farley and Tina Fey. The book being 15 years old means some of the anecdotes are a bit dated, but the principles laid out remain staples of improv teachings to this day.

There is also a good deal of discussion of improv guru / legend / zen master Del Close. For those who do not know the name, he is a legend Chicago improv, and by extension, the UCB, who branched out to NYC and LA. While many people don't know him, they know many of his students.

The book (not unlike this review) lacks a bit of focus, but (unlike this review) is enjoyable to read. It's got a good pace and I learned a lot reading it. I'll definitely go back to this often. ( )
  SharkRodeo | May 8, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charna Halpernprimary authorall editionscalculated
Close, Delmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, Kimmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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The 'Harold', an innovative improvisational tool, helped many actors on the road to TV and film stardom, including George Wendt (Norm on Cheers). Now it is described fully in this new book for would-be actors and comics. The 'Harold' is a form of competitive improv involving 6 or 7 players. They take a theme suggestion from the audience and 'free associate' on the theme into a series of rapid-fire one-liners that build into totally unpredictable skits with hilarious results. The 'Harold' is a fun way to 'loosen up' and learn to think quickly, build continuity, develop characterisations and sharpen humour.

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