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The History of Improvisation

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by

Ethan Pham

on 18 December 2013

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Transcript of The History of Improvisation

The History
of
Improvisation


The Origins of Improvisation
Although it is unknown where improvisation originated, the earliest documented use of improvisational theater in Western history is found in the
Atellan Farce
of Rome circa 391 BC.
A collection of vulgar farces containing a lot of low comedy and rude jokes. They originated from the Oscan town of Campania, and were imported into Rome in 391 BC.
Improvisation is a state of being and creating action without pre-planning.
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Modern improvisation began as drama exercises for children, and were a staple of drama education in the early 20th Century because it was part of the progressive education movement that was initiated by John Dewey.

Viola Spolin developed more improvisation exercises in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, and wrote it in a book known as
Improvisation For the Theater
, and it was the first book that gave specific techniques for learning to do and teach improvisational theater.

d

Spolin influenced the first generation of modern improvisors, which led to
The Second City
. Her son, Paul Sills, started the
Compass Players
. After the
Compass Players
disbanded, her son started
The Second City
, and it became the first organized troupe in Chicago, and the modern Chicago improv comedy movement flowered from their success.

Most of the "rules" of comedic improv were created in Chicago by
The Compass Players
. Most people believe that David Shepherd had provided the philosophies of the
Compass Players
, and Elaine May was central to the development of the premises for its improv shows.

After Second City, people began to hear about improv, through such comedy stars as Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey, who started their career through Second City, and later on became stars in shows such as Saturday Night Live. Improv began to spread throughout the world, to countries such as Britain and Canada,

After Second City, people began to hear about improv, through such comedy stars as Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey, who started their career through Second City, and later on became stars in shows such as Saturday Night Live. Improv began to spread throughout the world, to countries such as Britain and Canada, and to places such as this room, where I am spreading this information to you right now. The history of improvisation is yet to be finished, but for now, I just have to say,
The End
(For Now)
IMPROVISATION
By Ethan Pham, Per. 5
Full transcript