Johnstone & Spolin: Can They “Play Nice Together”?

The objectives in this workshop are similar to those in Impro System Training; however, to investigate and achieve those objectives, we will implement both Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin’s methods side-by-side and in combination.  My earliest training in improvisation was with the late, beloved teacher/improviser extraordinaire Avery Schreiber, and he taught in the Spolin tradition.  Over the last decade, I have relied on both Johnstone and Spolin methods to solve theatrical problems in training and in rehearsals.  To my dismay, I have discovered “purists” on either side who refuse to recognize the valuable contributions of the other.  At first glance, the processes of these two pioneers of improvisation may seem dissimilar; but with deep probing, questioning, and experiencing, students will begin to see not only their shared objectives but also how merging their methods can dynamically enhance any theatrical process.