Improvisational theatre called improvisation or improv, is the form of theatre comedy, in which most or all of what is performed is unplanned or unscripted: created spontaneously by the performers. In its purest form, the dialogue, action and characters are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds in present time, without use of an prepared, written script. Improvisational theatre exists in performance as a range of styles of improvisational comedy as well as some non-comedic theatrical performances, it is sometimes used in film and television, both to develop characters and scripts and as part of the final product. Improvisational techniques are used extensively in drama programs to train actors for stage and television and can be an important part of the rehearsal process. However, the skills and processes of improvisation are used outside the context of performing arts - Applied Improvisation, it is used in classrooms as an educational tool and in businesses as a way to develop communication skills, creative problem solving, supportive team-work abilities that are used by improvisational, ensemble players.
It is sometimes used in psychotherapy as a tool to gain insight into a person's thoughts and relationships. The earliest well documented use of improvisational theatre in Western history is found in the Atellan Farce of 391 BC. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, commedia dell'arte performers improvised based on a broad outline in the streets of Italy. In the 1890s, theatrical theorists and directors such as the Russian Konstantin Stanislavski and the French Jacques Copeau, founders of two major streams of acting theory, both utilized improvisation in acting training and rehearsal. Modern theatrical improvisation games began as drama exercises for children, which were a staple of drama education in the early 20th century thanks in part to the progressive education movement initiated by John Dewey in 1916; some people credit American Dudley Riggs as the first vaudevillian to use audience suggestions to create improvised sketches on stage. Improvisation exercises were developed further by Viola Spolin in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, codified in her book Improvisation For The Theater, the first book that gave specific techniques for learning to do and teach improvisational theater.
In the 1970s in Canada, British playwright and director Keith Johnstone wrote Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre, a book outlining his ideas on improvisation, invented Theatresports, which has become a staple of modern improvisational comedy and is the inspiration for the popular television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? Spolin influenced the first generation of modern American improvisers at The Compass Players in Chicago, which led to The Second City, her son, Paul Sills, along with David Shepherd, started The Compass Players. Following the demise of the Compass Players, Paul Sills began The Second City, they were the first organized troupes in Chicago, the modern Chicago improvisational comedy movement grew from their success. Many of the current "rules" of comedic improv were first formalized in Chicago in the late 1950s and early 1960s among The Compass Players troupe, directed by Paul Sills. From most accounts, David Shepherd provided the philosophical vision of the Compass Players, while Elaine May was central to the development of the premises for its improvisations.
Mike Nichols, Ted Flicker, Del Close were her most frequent collaborators in this regard. When The Second City opened its doors on December 16, 1959, directed by Paul Sills, his mother Viola Spolin began training new improvisers through a series of classes and exercises which became the cornerstone of modern improv training. By the mid-1960s, Viola Spolin's classes were handed over to her protégé, Jo Forsberg, who further developed Spolin's methods into a one-year course, which became The Players Workshop, the first official school of improvisation in the USA. During this time, Forsberg trained many of the performers who went on to star on The Second City stage. Many of the original cast of Saturday Night Live came from The Second City, the franchise has produced such comedy stars as Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Eugene Levy, Jack McBrayer, Steve Carell, Chris Farley, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi. Keith Johnstone's group The Theatre Machine, which originated in London, was touring Europe.
This work gave birth to Theatresports, at first secretly in Johnstone's workshops, in public when he moved to Canada. Toronto has been home to a rich improv tradition. In 1984, Dick Chudnow founded ComedySportz in Milwaukee, WI. Expansion began with the addition of ComedySportz-Madison, in 1985; the first Comedy League of America National Tournament was held in 1988, with 10 teams participating. The league boasts a roster of 29 international cities. In San Francisco, The Committee theater was active in North Beach during the 1960s, it was founded by Alan Myerson and his wife Jessica. When The Committee disbanded in 1972, three major companies were formed: The Pitchell Players, The Wing, Improvisation Inc; the only company that continued to perform Close's Harold was the latter one. Its two former members, Michael Bossier and John Elk, formed Spaghetti Jam in San Francisco's Old Spaghetti Factory in 1976, where shortform improv and Harolds were performed through 1983. Stand-up comedians performing down the street at the Intersection for the Arts would drop by and sit in.
In 1979, Elk brought shortform to England, teaching workshops at Jacksons Lane Theatre, he was the first American to perform at The Comedy Store, above
The Second City
The Second City is an improvisational comedy enterprise, best known as the first on-going improvisational theater troupe, continually based in Chicago. It has training programs and live theatres in Toronto and Los Angeles; the Second City Theatre opened on December 16, 1959, has since become one of the most influential and prolific comedy theatres in the world. The Second City has produced television programs in both Canada and the United States, including SCTV, Second City Presents, Next Comedy Legend. Since its debut, The Second City has been a notable starting point for comedians, award-winning actors and others in show business, including Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Del Close, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Nia Vardalos, Ryan Stiles, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, many others; the Second City chose its self-mocking name from the title of an article about Chicago by A. J. Liebling, published in The New Yorker, in 1952. In summer 1955, at The Compass bar in Hyde Park, University of Chicago students, led by Bernard Sahlins and Paul Sills, calling themselves Compass Players, began a "commedia dell'arte", based on professional theater games taught by Viola Spolin, the mother of Sills.
They soon began performing occasional shows on the Near North Side. On December 16, 1959, The Second City's first revue show premiered at 1842 North Wells Street, with Sills' former wife and Compass Player Barbara Harris singing “Everybody’s in the Know. Admission was $1.50. Sahlins and Sills flipped burgers in the kitchen."Sahlins and Howard Alk had founded the theater, in 1959, as a place where scenes and stories were created with improvisation, using techniques that grew out of Spolin's innovative teachings known as Theater Games, with Sills as its director. The cabaret theater comedy style of the Second City tended towards satire and commentary of current social norms and political figures and events. In 1961, the theater sent a cast to Broadway with the musical revue, From the Second City, directed by Sills and earning a Tony nomination for ensemble member Severn Darden; the company moved a few blocks south, to 1616 North Wells, in 1967. The theater expanded to include three touring companies and a second resident company, now fosters a company devoted to outreach and diversity.
The style of comedy has changed with time. Second City revues feature a mix of semi-improvised and scripted scenes, with new material developed during unscripted improv sessions after the second act, where scenes are created based on audience suggestions. A number of well-known performers began careers as part of the historic troupe moved to television and film. In 1973, The Second City opened a theater in Toronto. By the mid-1970s, both venues became a source of cast members for Saturday Night Live and SCTV, which borrowed many of the writing and performing techniques pioneered by The Second City and other improv groups. In 1983, the adjoining e.t.c. Theater became the second resident stage at its Old Town, Chicago location, handling overflow crowds and increasing the number of resident company members. Co-founder Bernie Sahlins owned the theater company until 1985, before selling it to Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart. Along with its theaters, training centers, television shows, The Second City produced improv and sketch shows for Norwegian Cruise Line, through 2017.
In the 2000s, Second City launched productions in regional theaters around the country. Second City Television, or SCTV, was a Canadian television sketch comedy show offshoot from the Toronto troupe of the Second City and ran from 1976 to 1984. Dr. Charles A. "Chuck" attempts to entice Bob Hope, to star in his next film. In-house media melodrama was satirized, including by John Candy, as the vain, bloated variety star character, Johnny La Rue. Martin Short originated his dorky Ed Grimley character here, which he brought to Saturday Night Live. Opened in 1972, Andrew Alexander took the reins of The Second City Toronto in 1974 formed a partnership with Len Stuart in 1976, starting The Second City Entertainment Company, its inaugural television production was SCTV that year. Alexander co-developed and executive produced over 185 half-hour shows for the series. In 1985, Alexander and Stuart acquired Chicago's Second City, he has produced or executive-produced over 200 Second City revues
Military simulations known informally as war games, are simulations in which theories of warfare can be tested and refined without the need for actual hostilities. Many professional analysts object to the term wargames as this is taken to be referring to the civilian hobby, thus the preference for the term simulation. Simulations exist with varying degrees of realism. In recent times, the scope of simulations has widened to include not only military but political and social factors, which are seen as inextricably entwined in a realistic warfare model. Whilst many governments make use of simulation, both individually and collaboratively, little is known about it outside professional circles, yet modelling is the means by which governments test and refine their military and political policies. Military simulations are seen as a useful way to develop tactical and doctrinal solutions, but critics argue that the conclusions drawn from such models are inherently flawed, due to the approximate nature of the models used.
The term military simulation can cover a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from full-scale field-exercises, to abstract computerized models that can proceed with little or no human involvement—such as the Rand Strategy Assessment Center. As a general scientific principle, the most reliable data comes from actual observation and the most reliable theories depend on it; this holds true in military analysis, where analysts look towards live field-exercises and trials as providing data to be realistic and verifiable. One can discover, for example, how long it takes to construct a pontoon bridge under given conditions with given manpower, this data can generate norms for expected performance under similar conditions in the future, or serve to refine the bridge-building process. Any form of training can be regarded as a "simulation" in the strictest sense of the word. Full-scale military exercises, or smaller-scale ones, are not always feasible or desirable. Availability of resources, including money, is a significant factor—it costs a lot to release troops and materiel from any standing commitments, to transport them to a suitable location, to cover additional expenses such as petroleum and lubricants usage, equipment maintenance and consumables replenishment and other items.
In addition, certain warfare models do not lend themselves to verification using this realistic method. It might, for example, prove counter-productive to test an attrition scenario by killing one's own troops. Moving away from the field exercise, it is more convenient to test a theory by reducing the level of personnel involvement. Map exercises can be conducted involving senior officers and planners, but without the need to physically move around any troops; these retain some human input, thus can still reflect to some extent the human imponderables that make warfare so challenging to model, with the advantage of reduced costs and increased accessibility. A map exercise can be conducted with far less forward planning than a full-scale deployment, making it an attractive option for more minor simulations that would not merit anything larger, as well as for major operations where cost, or secrecy, is an issue. Increasing the level of abstraction still further, simulation moves towards an environment recognised by civilian wargamers.
This type of simulation can be manual, implying no computer involvement, computer-assisted, or computerised. Manual simulations have been in use in some form since mankind first went to war. Chess can be regarded as a form of military simulation. In more recent times, the forerunner of modern simulations was the Prussian game Kriegsspiel, which appeared around 1811 and is sometimes credited with the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War, it was distributed to each Prussian regiment and they were ordered to play it prompting a visiting German officer to declare in 1824, "It's not a game at all! It's training for war!" So many rules sprang up, as each regiment improvised their own variations, two versions came into use. One, known as "rigid Kriegsspiel", was played by strict adherence to the lengthy rule book; the other, "free Kriegsspiel", was governed by the decisions of human umpires. Each version had its advantages and disadvantages: rigid Kriegsspiel contained rules covering most situations, the rules were derived from historical battles where those same situations had occurred, making the simulation verifiable and rooted in observable data, which some American models discarded.
However, its prescriptive nature acted against any impulse of the participants towards free and creative thinking. Conversely, free Kriegsspiel could encourage this type of thinking, as its rules were open to interpretation by umpires and could be adapted during operation; this interpretation, tended to negate the verifiable nature of the simulation, as different umpires might well adjudge the same situation in different ways where there was a lack of historical precedent. In addition, it allowed umpires to weight the outcome, consciously or otherwise; the above arguments are still cogent in the computer-heavy military simulation environment. There remains a recognised place for umpires as arbiters of a simulation, hence the persistence o
Kurt Lewin was a German-American psychologist, known as one of the modern pioneers of social and applied psychology in the United States. Exiled from the land of his birth, Lewin made a new life for himself, in which he defined himself and his contributions within three lenses of analysis: applied research, action research, group communication were his major offerings to the field of communication. Lewin is recognized as the "founder of social psychology" and was one of the first to study group dynamics and organizational development. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Lewin as the 18th-most cited psychologist of the 20th century. In 1890, he was born into a Jewish family in Mogilno, County of Mogilno, Province of Poznań, Prussia, it was a small village of about 5,000 people. Lewin received an orthodox Jewish education at home, he was one of four children born into a middle-class family. His father owned a small general store, the family lived in an apartment above the store.
His father, owned a farm jointly with his brother Max. The family moved to Berlin in 1905, so Lewin and his brothers could receive a better education. From 1905 to 1908, Lewin studied at the Kaiserin Augusta Gymnasium, where he received a classical humanistic education. In 1909, he entered the University of Freiburg to study medicine, but transferred to University of Munich to study biology, he became involved with women's rights around this time. In April 1910, he transferred to the Royal Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Berlin, where he was still a medical student. By the Easter semester of 1911, his interests had shifted toward philosophy. By the summer of 1911, the majority of his courses were in psychology. While at the University of Berlin, Lewin took 14 courses with Carl Stumpf, he served in the German army. Due to a war wound, he returned to the University of Berlin to complete his PhD, with Carl Stumpf the supervisor of his doctoral thesis. Lewin had written a dissertation proposal asking Stumpf to be his supervisor, which Stumpf had accepted.
Though Lewin worked under Stumpf to complete his dissertation, the relationship between them did not involve much communication. Lewin studied associations and intention for his dissertation, but he did not discuss it with Stumpf until his final doctoral examination. In 1917, Lewin married Maria Landsberg. In 1919, the couple welcomed their daughter Esther Agnes, in 1922, their son Fritz Reuven was born, they divorced around 1927, Maria immigrated to Palestine with the children. In 1929, Lewin married Gertrud Weiss, their daughter Miriam was born in 1931, their son Daniel was born in 1933. Lewin had been involved with schools of behavioral psychology before changing directions in research and undertaking work with psychologists of the Gestalt school of psychology, including Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Kohler, he joined the Psychological Institute of the University of Berlin where he lectured and gave seminars on both philosophy and psychology. He served as a professor at the University of Berlin from 1926 to 1932, during which time he conducted experiments about tension states, needs and learning.
In 1933, Lewin had tried to negotiate a teaching position as the chair of psychology as well as the creation of a research institute at the Hebrew University. Lewin associated with the early Frankfurt School, originated by an influential group of Jewish Marxists at the Institute for Social Research in Germany, but when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 the Institute members had to disband, moving to England and to America. In that year, he met of the London Tavistock Clinic. Trist was impressed with his theories and went on to use them in his studies on soldiers during the Second World War. Lewin immigrated to the United States in August 1933 and became a naturalized citizen in 1940. A few years after moving to America, Lewin began asking people to pronounce his name as "Lou-in" rather than "Le-veen" because the misspelling of his name by Americans had led to many missed phone calls. Earlier, he had spent six months as a visiting professor at Stanford in 1930, but on his immigration to the United States, Lewin worked at Cornell University and for the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station at the University of Iowa.
He became director of the Center for Group Dynamics at MIT. While working at MIT in 1946, Lewin received a phone call from the director of the Connecticut State Inter Racial Commission requesting help to find an effective way to combat religious and racial prejudices, he set up a workshop to conduct a "change" experiment, which laid the foundations for what is now known as sensitivity training. In 1947, this led at Bethel, Maine. Carl Rogers believed that sensitivity training is "perhaps the most significant social invention of this century."Following World War II Lewin was involved in the psychological rehabilitation of former occupants of displaced persons camps with Dr. Jacob Fine at Harvard Medical School; when Trist and A T M Wilson wrote to Lewin proposing a journal in partnership with their newly founded Tavistock Institute and his group at MIT, Lewin agreed. The Tavistock journal, Human Relations, was founded with two early papers by Lewin entitled "Frontiers in Group Dynamics". Lewin taught for a time at Duke University.
Lewin died in Newtonville, Massachusetts, of a heart attack in 1947. He was buried in his home town, his wife died in 1987. Lewin coined the notion of genid
Play-by-mail games, or play-by-post games, are games, of any type, played through postal mail or email. Correspondence chess has been played by mail for centuries; the boardgame Diplomacy has been played by mail since the 1960s, starting with a printed newsletter written by John Boardman. More complex games, moderated or by computer programs, were pioneered by Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo in 1970; the first such game offered via major email services was WebWar II from Neolithic Enterprises who accepted email turns from all of the major email services including CompuServe in 1983. Play by mail games are referred to as PBM games, play by email is sometimes abbreviated PBeM—as opposed to face to face or over the board games which are played in person. Another variation on the name is play-by-web. In all of these examples, player instructions can be either executed by a human moderator, a computer program, or a combination of the two. In the 1980s, play-by-mail games reached their peak of popularity with the advent of Gaming Universal, Paper Mayhem and Flagship magazine, the first professional magazines devoted to play-by-mail games.
Bob McLain, the publisher and editor of Gaming Universal, further popularized the hobby by writing articles that appeared in many of the leading mainstream gaming magazines of the time. Flagship bought overseas right to Gaming Universal, making it the leading magazine in the field. Flagship magazine was founded by Nick Palmer; the magazine still exists, under a new editor, but health concerns have led to worries over the publication's long term viability. In the late 1990s, computer and Internet games marginalized play-by-mail conducted by actual postal mail, but the postal hobby still exists with an estimated 2000–3000 adherents worldwide. Postal gaming developed as a way for geographically separated gamers to compete with each other, it was useful for those living in isolated areas and those whose tastes in games were uncommon. In the case of a two player game such as chess, players would send their moves to each other alternately. In the case of a multi-player game such as Diplomacy, a central game master would run the game, receiving the moves and publishing adjudications.
Such adjudications were published in postal game zines, some of which contained far more than just games. The commercial market for play-by-mail games grew to involve computer servers set up to host thousands of players at once. Players would be split up into parallel games in order to keep the number of players per game at a reasonable level, with new games starting as old games ended. A typical closed game session might involve one to two dozen players, although some games claimed to have as many as five hundred people competing in the same game world. While the central company was responsible for feeding in moves and mailing the processed output back to players, players were provided with the mailing addresses of others so that direct contact could be made and negotiations performed. With turns being processed every few weeks, more advanced games could last over a year. Game themes are varied, may range from those based on historical or real events to those taking place in alternate or fictional worlds.
One of the most successful and longest running PBM games is TribeNet, a strategy game with themes of exploration and warfare. TribeNet was launched by Jeff Perkins as a PBM in 1985 and was transformed by Peter Rzechorzek into a PBeM when he took over the game in 1997. Peter has remained in charge for over twenty years; the onset of the computer-moderated PBM game meant that the human moderated games became "boutique" games with little chance of matching the gross revenues that larger, automated games could produce. The mechanics of play-by-mail games require that players think and plan before making moves; because planned actions can only be submitted at a fixed maximum frequency, the number of discrete actions is limited compared to real-time games. As a result, players are provided with a variety of resources to assist in turn planning, including game aids and results from previous turns. Using this material, planning a single turn may take a number of hours. Actual move/turn submission is traditionally carried out by filling in a turn card.
This card has formatted entry areas. Players are limited to some finite number of actions, in some cases must split their resources between these actions; the way the card is filled in implies an ordering between each command, so that they are processed in-order, one after another. Once completed, the card is mailed to the game master, where it is either processed, or held until the next turn processing window begins. By gathering turn cards from a number of players and processing them all at the same time, games can provide simultaneous actions for all players. However, for this same reason, co-ordination between players can be difficult to achieve. For example, player A might attempt to move to player B's current location to do something with player B, while player B might attempt to move to player A's current location; as such, the output/results of the turn can differ from the submitted plan