Theresa Dudeck blog posts

10 Tips from the Master of Impro!

For the last 2 weeks of June 2014, I was in Calgary working with Keith Johnstone (as his Literary Executor) preparing and packing his personal archive (or a portion of it) for shipment to Stanford University where The Keith Johnstone Papers will be permanently housed. 

As I sat for hours beside the master of impro going through thousands of old documents, I decided to take the opportunity to ask him, “If you could share one piece of advice with improvisers worldwide, what would it be?”  I then jotted down his answer and, in the evening, posted it on my Keith Johnstone: A Critical Biography Facebook Page.  The next day, I asked him the same question, posted his answer, and I continued to do this almost every day of those last 2 weeks of June.  As I was pondering over what to write about for the Actors & Performers site, it suddenly dawned on me to simply post Keith’s advice!  So, here it is, in chronological order, …

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Keith Johnstone’s “Blind Offers” Warm-up for the Acting Classroom

In Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre, Keith Johnstone introduces a “Blind Offers” warm-up.  In Impro for Storytellers, he calls this warm-up “Justifying the Gesture.”  First of all, an “offer” in impro lingo is any physical or verbal input an actor makes.  A “blind offer” is any physical or verbal input an actor makes, but the actor makes this offer “blindly,” that is, without any idea of what it means or where it will lead.  Rather, the actor is allowing/trusting her partner to make meaning out of the offer and to take it in a useful direction. 

The basic Blind Offers warm-up goes like this: Player A makes a blind offer (a physical gesture) and holds.  This gesture is made with no intention to communicate anything.  Player B then looks at Player A’s gesture and responds immediately, accepting the abstract blind offer by justifying the gesture and making it less abstract.  Or, if no idea presents itself …

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