Dan Richter - Improtheater und Improvisation
Gedanken zu Theorie und Praxis des Improvisationstheaters. Überlegungen zu
Improvisation und Kreativität. Beobachtungen aus Lehre und Aufführung.

Improshows in Berlin/Brandenburg

1. Juni 2016

Close vs. Johnstone pt 2 - an answer to Ian Parizot

Ian Parizot from Montreal commented on my last post on the differences between Johnstone and Close.
1. I think that the theories two gurus both have their blind spots. For example, Keith Johnstone’s format Theatersports is a playfully competitive, yet highly funny form which makes it possible for a performer to fail gracefully and still be entertaining. On the other hand it leads some performers to be competitive or to play dumb – to fail for the sake of failure. Del Close’ Harold focuses on Group Mind which is a good thing but it undervalues contrast and may lead less talented performers to dull copying scenes or a foreseeable Harold structure.
2. Contrary to Ian, I think it’s valuable to learn all kinds of styles. I think it should be obvious, but I spell it out. Knowing different approaches and styles has many advantages. First of all, I can get along easier with other performers, for example f I perform with a UCB alumni, I know that I have to keep my eyes open for certain game structures. If I play with a large Harold team, I know that they’re very likely up to group games. I know how I’m expected to behave when my Theatersports team wins or loses. But even more important, knowing different styles gives me a better grip to understand theater in all of its forms. There’s more than just one approach to comedy. There’s more than just one approach to creativity. To give a common example: The Beatles in Hamburg had to play all kinds of styles; when the drunk audience demanded a Bossa Nova, they played a Bossa Nova or at least they played it the next night. It was precisely that multi-style approach and their openness for new sounds that enabled them to create their music which was different from every other pop band. In film you can think Stanley Kubrick, in literature think Goethe.

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