Process

E-book – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-6216-7

Trade Paper – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2472-1
Publication Date
December 2007
Page Count
184 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5
ISBN
0-8101-2472-6

Process

An Improviser's Journey
Mary Scruggs and Michael J. Gellman, with an foreword by Anne Libera

Author, teacher, and improviser Michael Gellman was given a mission by Del Close himself: "[T]o create improvised one-act plays of literary quality from scratch." Already steeped in the world of improvisation, he took it upon himself to do this, in the form of a class for other improvisers in which they would build the skills necessary to execute such a seemingly tall order. Scruggs and Gellman's book, modeled after Stanislavski's timeless An Actor Prepares, follows a fictional young actor taking Gellman's real-life class.

           

Scruggs and Gellman introduce readers to Geoff, who has just moved to Chicago to pursue acting. He undergoes the standard trials of audition and rejection before he takes the advice of a fellow actor and turns to improv classes at Second City. At first, Geoff thinks improvisation is about laughs and loosening up, but he soon learns that it is a powerful tool as well as an end in itself. Through Geoff's eyes, the book introduces readers to key tenets of improvisation: concentration, visualization, focus, object work, being in the moment, and the crucial "yes, and." His experiences with the basics of improvisation do serve to get him a few roles, but his real breakthrough comes when he signs up for an improvised one-act class with Michael Gellman. He and his classmates arrive unprepared for the challenge, but with Gellman's prompts and advice, they slowly move through process to performance over the course of three seasons in Chicago.  The class culminates with their final project: a completely improvised one-act play performed in front of a live audience.

About the Author

Mary Scruggs is an actress, director, playwright, and educator.  She is currently the head of writing and education programs at The Second City Training Center in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and son. 

 

Michael J. Gellman is the head of The Second City New York program.  He was a resident company member of The Second City Chicago for three years and he has directed at The Second City since 1980.  In addition to The Second City Training Center, Gellman has taught at Columbia College, Northern Illinois University, and Artistic New Directions.

 

Reviews

"Process: An Improviser's Journey has truly captured that exhilaration we've felt performing long-form improv for the stage. It's this collaborative process, the controlled accident, that generates unforgettable theatre. When we worked with Michael Gellman at the Organic Theatre creating scenario plays, we experienced that first-hand. He carries on the work of Viola Spolin, Paul Sills, and David Shepard, who all saw the potential of improvisation to produce compelling theatrical experiences. An indispensable guide for teachers, students, and anyone interested in the creative process."  —Deb Lacusta and Dan Castellaneta, writers, performer, The Simpsons