The Language of Authority

Do this, don’t do that! Like this! Here’s how I want it! That’s better! That’s rotten! That’s not funny! Now that was FUNNY! That’s what I want! — spoken by a director at a recent improv workshop I attended. If you teach or direct, you must be mindful of your role as leader and work to be.. read more →

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 →

Transcend the known and knock on the door of the Intuition

The Games of Viola Spolin are designed to teach more than theater. They are doorways into an unknown. And by playing, we go forth unafraid and with joy! read more →

Some Thoughts on Improvising

I was looking through my journal trying to find what to write about as my next blog entry. I came across a stream of consciousness document I simply called “Ramblings”. I often ramble on trying to find a subject to expound on. In re-reading this old journal entry, I found it was pretty good advice.. read more →

See Unlabeled

Intuition is not just a word

When you hear a word too often it can lose its meaning.
Often Viola would exchange the word intuition for other phrases that she felt kept you cognizant about the meaning of Intuition. She would use words like treasure house, or X-Area, the Unknown in place of Intuition. It is often over-used as a word and its meaning can be easily overlooked by labeling it. read more →

Body – Mind – Intuition

 “If you can get it out of the head and into the body…Body, Mind, Intuition. This is what we’re after. Body, Mind, Intuition” – Viola Spolin The quote above was directed to sixty teachers in a workshop Viola ran and which I assisted. I’ve had the great good fortune to absorb this mantra throughout my.. 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 →

The Paradox of Side-Coaching

Solving my “Shut-Off”   “My work is not Psychodrama!! Never use your own tears! Use the character’s tears!” Viola proclaimed this very emphatically when we would try to work out our personal problems in a scene. Some actors in our workshop were trained to use ‘sense memory’ and transfer the sadness of a personal event.. read more →

Valerie Harper shares her life and work with Spolin Games

Valerie Harper’s Improv Odyssey has shaped her life and career. In this 1994 interview with freelance journalist, Carol Grey, she speaks about the transformative power and wisdom of Viola Spolin’s philosophy. I am proud to know her and have her endorsement as a fellow player on this fantastic journey. “Viola Spolin had genius. Gary Schwartz.. read more →

FOCUS – Process Creates Story

More commentary on Spolin’s Tips and Pointers Pointer # 9 — The energy released in solving the problem, flowing through the Where, Who, and What, forms the scene. Taken from “Improvisation for the Theater” by Viola Spolin; 3rd Edition, Northwestern University Press. Solving a challenging problem constitutes a strong FOCUS. Viola Spolin used to call.. read more →