Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Reclaiming Your Charm

September 10, 2007

 I got an e-mail from David Wahl (Creative Creativity) a while ago, which mentioned this activity from The Art of Comedy.

 Reclaiming Your Charm

This exercise helps you discover your true, inner personal charm. One thing that’s important in acting is likeability. Tapping into one’s authenticity is vital in your comedy acting. This charm exercise allows people to embrace the power of agreement, that is, to agree with the other person and to see the magic in the other person.

Sometimes, in comedy, people tend to leave out their unique personality and likeability. They sometimes forget how to be charming and can be rather robotic in their acting. Although comedy certainly uses exaggeration, it has to be based on a layer of truth. The actor has to be real and likeable. As simple as this exercise may seem, it can be challenging, because sometimes people want to lock their personalities away.

People Needed: 2 or more

Scene: Two actors onstage

Directions: One actor is onstage when the other actor enters. The goal of the scene is for the two actors to be as charming as they can. They have a coversation with each other and aren’t concerned about being funny. They focus on tapping their own personal charm and talk with each other in great depth. They compliment each other, express kindness toward one another and notice everything about the other person in a most flattering way.

I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, but I am intrigued.  As far as I can tell it is trying to teach charisma.  Teaching charisma?  Can it be done?  Isn’t it one of those things that you either have or you don’t?

Does anyone have any hot ideas for teaching charisma?

I’d love to run a workshop on charisma.  Some status work, some body language, the beep beep game*, the presentation minus trick game*…

*as found in impro for storytellers.



August 27, 2007


I’ve been rereading some of my Improv books.

This weekend it was GURU: MY DAYS WITH DEL CLOSE by Jeff Griggs.

Some thoughts,

1. Jeff Griggs is the kind of improviser I want to be when I grow up.

2. The way Del’s life intertwines with popular culture at large falls somewhere between Forrest Gump and the Da Vinci Code.

3. While sometimes I worry that I’m a little harsh on students, I’m always reassured by the fact that I’ve never told a student to sew her vagina shut.

4. Quote: “Laughter is a response to a gestault formation where two previously incompatible or dissimilar ideas suddenly form into a new piece of understanding. The energy release during that reaction comes out in laughter.” (p41)

Excerpts here and here.

Unscripted Learning

August 18, 2007

This is the first time Amazon’s recommendation system has turned up something interesting.

Unscripted Learning: Using Improv Activities Across the K-8 Curriculum

Using improv to teach other things is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. So I may have to look into this one.

I found the chapter on improvising maths here (PDF).


June 1, 2007

blink.jpg Just finished reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

What a great read.  Fundamentally, it is a book about the kind of thinking that happens very quickly, when to trust those snap decisions, and when to question them.  The kinds of issues we improvisers are quite familiar with (in fact, there’s a brief section on improvised theatre).

I’m not sure that reading this book will make you a better improviser, but for an improv teacher, this book is packed full of insights into how the brain works under pressure.

And it’s just really well written.

I’m going to let it sit for a couple of weeks, then go back through it.