The Fear Factor and My Ghostly Voices

The Scene: Improv Class with the legendary Viola Spolin. “Alright.” she says. “Who wants to go next?” I hesitate. The ‘What if…?’ dialogue: “What if I can’t do it?” That’s where it starts for me. I get afraid. “Afraid of what?” “Not being able to do it? Then people will laugh at me?” “Hey! I’m.. read more →

Teacher, Coach Thyself

Sidecoaching is essential to a game and helps the player breakthrough his or her resistance(s) whatever they may be, and soar into that unknown area, their own treasure house of creativity and intuition where growth and transformation occurs. Sidecoaching is an art in itself and a necessary component of Spolin Games that gets to the.. read more →

Living in Our Head: Connected yet Disconnected by Technology

As individuals we are isolated from one another, full of limitations, fears, tensions, competitiveness, prejudices, and preconceived attitudes. If our openness is more than just a hope, a sentiment, a word, certain conditions must be met. The first of these we would call mutuality or trust. True playing will produce trust. – Viola Spolin –.. read more →

IMPROV and the ROI

“Bottom line, how will Improv increase our sales, improve our morale, or our team? What guarantees do we have that everyone is going to benefit from this training? What can we expect to see after your work with us is over? Will we be a more productive workforce? Can we measure that? Will our staff.. read more →

Show! Don’t Tell!

When you don’t see where you are, all you can do is talk about it. You get a suggestion for a scene: Who — A husband and wife. Where — at Disneyland. What — waiting to get on a ride. Most players will begin the scene with dialogue something like this. Husband:  Well, well, dear.. read more →

Direct Experience and Peak Experiences

“What we are after is a direct experience!” — Viola Spolin I used to think that a direct experience is the same as what Abraham Maslow called the ‘peak experience’. Maslow coined the term to describe what other people have referred to as a ‘religious experience’ as in a born again feeling where the subject.. read more →

How to Leave Your Ego at the Door

“Enough about me… What do you think about me?” Making Your Partner Look Good “Make your partner look good!” is a coach used in current improvisational training. The reason this coach is valuable is because it is based on the idea that there is more opportunity for good improv by being more concerned with your.. read more →

What Does it Mean to Improvise?

“Creativity is not the clever rearranging of the known.” – Viola Spolin Creativity is a state that allows us to touch the unknown and to bring it into the phenomenal world: To make the invisible visible. The unknown is a territory that holds all possibilities, until it is revealed. The act of revealing – that is.. read more →

A Sense of Urgency

Using Slow Motion to counteract Urgency  This happened to me in an early workshop with Viola when we were working on The Where: The scene is a spaceship. I’m the navigator. Andy is the captain, and we have two prisoners from another planet on board. I sit placidly at my controls downstage. The captain yells.. read more →

Being Directed by Viola Spolin

At one point in our workshop we petitioned Viola to work with us on scripted material. She agreed and we brought in prepared scenes. My scene partner, Marti and I chose Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, a Greek comedy about women objecting to war and their husbands’ constant fighting by calling for a boycott of sex with their.. read more →