Matthew Stillman has been studying and performing long form improvisational comedy in New York City since 1996. He runs a creativity consultancy - http://stillmansays.com
A Funny Thing Happened At Mount Sinai: The Ten Commandments as a Guide to Improvisationby Matthew Stillman
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In 1996 Amy Poehler gave an improv class a stunning note about how the stage was her church and improv was her religion. It was the first few months that Stillman was learning and studying improv. She keyed the group into a vision that improv could teach people something about being a better person. It was a crystalline moment for the author and got him thinking that if improv was Amy’s religion and it could teach about being a better person could religion teach anything about improv?
After reflecting and considering the question more deeply the author has come to a definitive answer…
Yes it can.
And Stillman is not a Bible thumper either. This isn’t some backdoor way to make you believe in anything except that religion/philosophy can teach us something important about improv.
This book is improv theory nerdiness of a high order, But this book is also a well thought out argument that the Ten Commandments from the Bible offers some of the most important guidelines to improv since Truth in Comedy.
I never realized I was adhering so strictly to the Judeo-Christian tenets until I read this book. I agree with Matt whole heartedly when he says “God is quite simply, the present moment” – Matt Walsh, UCB founding member, Director, The High Road
Matt Stillman is a student of the craft. He loves improv and everything improv related. This treatise on the 10 Commandments as they relate to improv is a fun and insightful read that can help any improviser look again at what is in their own Improv Commandments. - Ali Farahnakian, UCB founding member, founder of The People’s Improv Theater aka The PIT
I have spent many countless hours, long into many nights, discussing and dissecting improv from many different angles. But rarely have I heard someone contemplate improv in a such a thoughtful, insightful and unique way as Matthew has done in this book. He is a smart guy who is full of love for improv and the people who do it.” – Kevin Mullaney, IRC, IRC Podcast, iO Theater, UCB
This book’s wise, witty approach to the sacred and the spontaneous shows us how improvisers combine the two to create beautiful hilarity with integrity. A very funny read, and sharp insights in every paragraph! Great for anyone, whether you’ve improvised on stage or not.” – Jay Rhoderick, Centralia, Burn Manhattan
- matthew stillman
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