Synopses & Reviews
In an irresistible invitation to lighten up, look around, and live an unscripted life, a master of the art of improvisation explains how to adopt the attitudes and techniques used by generations of musicians and actors.
Let's face it: Life is something we all make up as we go along. No matter how carefully we formulate a "script," it is bound to change when we interact with people with scripts of their own. "Improv Wisdom shows how to apply the maxims of improvisational theater to real-life challenges--whether it's dealing with a demanding boss, a tired child, or one of life's never-ending surprises. Patricia Madson distills thirty years of experience into thirteen simple strategies, including "Say Yes," "Start Anywhere," "Face the Facts," and "Make Mistakes, Please," helping readers to loosen up, think on their feet, and take on everything life has to offer with skill, chutzpah, and a sense of humor.
"Drama teacher turned self-help advisor Madson learned the hard way that playing by the rules doesn't always mean you win-despite doing all the right things, she was denied tenure in the job of her dreams. The acting teacher learned to jettison the script and improvise her life-and she ended up teaching at a much better university: Stanford. If you improvise, she says, you 'will make more mistakes' but you'll also 'laugh more often, and have some adventures.' Here she offers 13 maxims to guide the fledgling improviser. 'Say yes' with the ecstasy of Molly Bloom: it will open up new worlds. 'Don't prepare': in focusing on the future, you might miss the present. 'Start anywhere': take any entry into a problem, and once you get inside you'll have a better perspective. Madson offers little exercises drawn from improv acting that are easy and eye-opening, such as look at a familiar environment and notice something new in it. Or make a list of important places in your life, put down the book and just go to one of them. Madson's prose radiates the joy of living, the pleasure she has found in taking things as they come. Most self-help books offer a forced sense of inspiration; Madson is genuinely inspiring. 'Say yes' to this book." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Patricia Ryan Madson has been teaching for four decades. On the Stanford drama faculty since 1977, she founded the Stanford Improvisors in 1991. As head of the undergraduate acting program, she won the universitys highest teaching prize, the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding contribution to undergraduate education. She also teaches at the Esalen Institute and for Stanfords Continuing Studies. Patricia lives with her husband, Ronald Madson, and their Himalayan cat, Buddha, in El Granada, California, where they direct the California Center for Constructive Living.