Greetings seekers of improv knowledge!
One of the perks of being part of Chaos Comedy is that we have an extensive library filled with books written about acting, theatre and Improvisation. These books have been written by masters of their craft, people who are considered to be experts and the information contained therein is illuminating and priceless. As a public service, we would like to highlight two of these treasured tomes for you this month.
Truth In Comedy
by Del Close, Charna Halpern, and Kim “Howard” Johnson
This is probably the most popular, or the at least the most well-known, book on improv out there. It focuses on The Harold, which is the seminal long-form improv format, as well as discussing some of the cornerstone principles of improv: Yes, and; playing “truthfully”; supporting your partners; etcetera. This is a great book to read and learn from when you are just starting out in improv, but make sure that you also take a class in conjunction with it. That will help to ground the theory in the book with actual practice in class.
by Mick Napier
A great book that critically examines the supposed “Rules of Improv” and how they support, or don’t, successful improv scenes. This book has been incorrectly accused of contradicting much of the philosophy contained in Truth in Comedy when it actually just approaches these philosophies from a different angle. For example, the book argues that you are being most supportive of your partner by taking care of yourself first at the top of a scene – your strong choices will give your partner more to work with in the scene. This is a book for the intermediate improviser who is ready to take off the training wheels of “The Rules” and begin exploring improv scenes outside the box.
We hope that these savory tidbits of improv yumminess from the Chaos Comedy Library have inspired you to seek out and devour these awesome seven-course books as soon as you can. Please let us know what you think of them and, of course, please suggest any books about improv that you love. We are always looking to expand the contents of our bookshelves here at the Chaos Comedy Library. Until next month!