Where did improvisation come from, and who are the main and most influential practitioners today?即兴创作是从哪里来的？当今主要和最有影响力的从业者是谁？
Almost any book on improvisation will tell you that improvised theatre began with the Commedia Dell’Arte—and for once, “any book” is right,although possibly not for the reasons supposed.A moment’s thought about how theatre came to be will reveal that the notion of re-enacting events for an audience almost certainly came before the notion of writing a script to be memorized, but it is fair enough to not describe this kind of prototheatre as “improvised,” despite the fact that it was necessarily re-created fresh at each performance.
As the writer, very swiftly, assumed dominance of the theatre, the script became of paramount importance. The reason for this is also clear to see, and applies not just to theatre, but to all “temporal” art forms.Mozart was thought to be an astonishing improviser, but it is only his “premeditated” music which remains, since—by defifi nition—his improvisations were not recorded for posterity (although they may have inspired music which he later recorded). Scripts, books and music manuscripts can travel and endure in the way that a brief moment of inspiration cannot.
The Commedia Dell’Arte arose in Italy in the fifteenth century and specialized in bawdy comedies built around stock situations and populated by stock characters, often played by actors who had played them for many years, or even decades. In contrast to almost all the theatre which preceded it—at least from the ancient Greeks on—there was no definite script. Instead, Commedia Dell’Arte performers were free to improvise around the familiar situations, creating extemporized comic set-pieces,dialogue exchanges and even plot details as the fancy took them. No doubt this was a highly successful methodology, as it endured well into the eighteenth century and its influence is still felt today. It surely can be described as the first improvised theatre, since the term is meaningless unless there is scripted theatre to compare it to!
Commedia Dell'Arte诞生于十五世纪的意大利，专门研究根据喜剧情节制作的滑稽喜剧，喜剧喜剧演员经常扮演角色扮演了很多年，甚至数十年。与之前的几乎所有剧院相反（至少从古希腊人起），没有明确的剧本。取而代之的是，Commedia Dell'Arte的表演者可以随意在熟悉的情况下即兴创作，创作临时化的漫画作品，进行对话交流，甚至在幻想中绘制细节。毫无疑问，这是一种非常成功的方法，因为它一直持续到18世纪，并且在今天仍然可以感受到它的影响。它肯定可以说是第一个即兴剧院，因为除非有脚本剧场可以与之比拟，否则该词就毫无意义！
The next major innovation in improvisation had to wait almost five hundred years. Viola Spolin began her theatre work in the late 1930s.Like Augusto Boal after her, she was working in community theatre,and in trying to stimulate the children she was working with and make the process of theatre easy for them to grasp, she invented dozens of what now seem like fundamental improvisation games and exercises.
即兴创作的下一个重大创新要等待近五百年。维奥拉·斯波林（Viola Spolin）于1930年代后期开始戏剧工作。像奥古斯托·鲍尔（Augusto Boal）一样，她在社区剧院工作，并试图激发与之一起工作的孩子并使他们易于掌握戏剧过程，她发明了数十种现在看来基本的即兴游戏和练习。
Despite—like Stanislavski and later Lee Strasberg—viewing improvisation as essentially a rehearsal tool, rather than a performance piece, in one public demonstration of her methods, she asked for a suggestion from her audience, and a brand new technique was born. To many, the process of getting audience suggestions is the bedrock of improvisation,and many groups use a description of that process to encapsulate their whole show (“All based on your suggestions”). It is, however, easy to overuse and easy to abuse.
In the 1950s, Spolin’s son Paul Sills fell in with an exciting young group of actors in Chicago, headed by David Shepherd, which became the Compass Players. Sills and Spolin taught the Spolin games to this daring ensemble, and Shepherd hit upon the idea of creating a loose structure for a play, the dialogue of which could be improvised each night—essentially re-creating the modus of the Commedia Dell’Arte. Quickly, however, they discovered that the form of improvisation was better suited to comedy in a cabaret setting, using the audience suggestion method to create jumping off points for a series of impromptu comedy sketches.
在1950年代，斯波林的儿子保罗·西尔斯（Paul Sills）与一群令人振奋的年轻演员一起在芝加哥以大卫·谢泼德（David Shepherd）为首，后来成为罗盘演奏者。Sills和Spolin在这个大胆的合奏中教授了Spolin游戏，而Shepherd想到了为戏剧创建一个松散结构的想法，这种对话可以在每个晚上进行即兴创作-本质上是重新创造了Commedia Dell'Arte的方法。但是很快，他们发现即兴表演的形式更适合于歌舞表演中的喜剧，它使用观众建议方法为一系列即兴喜剧草图创建跳点。
A schism develops right here, which we will return to again and again in this book, between content and process. The problem which this creates is sometimes known as the skateboarding duck. For the Commedia Dell’Arte players, extemporization was simply the most effective method of channeling their inspiration, of creating the kind of comic energy which their scenarios demanded. Likewise, Shepherd and the Compass Players were initially seeking a fresher, more truthful acting style within a predetermined plot structure. As soon as the audience is made aware of the process, however, then a second point of interest emerges.
分裂在这里发展，在内容和过程之间，我们将在本书中一次又一次地返回。由此产生的问题有时被称为滑板鸭。对于Commedia Dell'Arte播放器来说，即兴创作是传达灵感，创造情景所要求的喜剧能量的最有效方法。同样，Shepherd和Compass Player最初是在预定的剧情结构中寻求更新鲜，更真实的表演风格。但是，一旦让观众意识到了这一过程，就会出现第二个兴趣点。
There is something daring about beginning with a random suggestion from the audience, which makes much of public improvisation about taking a risk. The potential problem with this approach is that the audience may be encouraged to admire the process rather than being engaged in the story. Like a duck riding a skateboard, they are astonished that such a thing is possible, and are thus distracted from whether or not it is done well. Taken too far, this is a recipe for both mediocrity and a thirst for novelty—problems which often bedevil the form to this day.
That isn’t to say that process should be ignored, or even de-emphasized.We don’t regard an acknowledgement of process as evil—in fact, we regard it as essential—but we want to be aware of the dangers and drawbacks as well as the advantages.The Compass ran from 1955 to 1958 and counted among its alumni Alan Alda, Jerry Stiller, Mike Nicholls, Elaine May, and—of course—Del Close. In 1959, some of its members founded Second City, about which more in a moment.
但这并不是说应该忽略或什至不强调流程。我们不认为承认流程是邪恶的，实际上，我们认为流程是必不可少的，但我们要意识到危险和弊端.指南针运行于1955年至1958年，其校友Alan Alda，Jerry Stiller，Mike Nicholls，Elaine May和-当然是Del Close。1959年，它的一些成员创立了Second City，此后不久，便有了更多机会。
At around the same time, in London, Keith Johnstone, a one-time high school teacher now working at the Royal Court Theatre in London, was beginning to direct plays for the fifi rst time. Despairing of the “theatre of taxidermy” which he saw in the West End and remembering how his own teachers had (seemingly) done their best to stiflfl e his creativity and selfexpression, he pinned up a list of things his teachers had told him not to do and used it as a syllabus. Not having had any drama training himself,he found himself constantly questioning his actors’ preconceptions and the prevailing wisdom of the day—notably Stanislavski.
大约在同一时间，在伦敦的基思·约翰斯通（Keith Johnstone）曾经是一名高中教师，现在在伦敦皇家法院剧院（Royal Court Theatre）工作，这是他第一次开始导演戏剧。他对在西区看到的“动物标本剧院”感到绝望，并回想起自己的老师（貌似）如何尽力激发自己的创造力和自我表达，他列出了老师告诉他不要做的事情并用作课程提纲。没有接受任何戏剧训练，他发现自己一直在质疑演员的成见和当今流行的智慧，尤其是斯坦尼斯拉夫斯基。
As he developed more and more exercises intended to keep his actors in the “present” and aware of each other, and to wreck their concentration,he found that he and the rest of the group were laughing prodigiously.Their improvised performances seemed much more alive, fresh, real and inspired than the play they were supposed to be rehearsing. Was this some vast untapped reservoir of comic inspiration, or were they fooling themselves with colossal self-indulgence? The only way to fifi nd out was to go public, and pretty soon, Keith’s “Theatre Machine” was touring all around Europe, with Keith himself acting as a sort of ringmaster, setting tasks for the actors and trying to keep order (ideally without quite succeeding).Keith, too, used audience suggestions, although sparingly.
In the 1970s, Keith moved to Calgary and developed Theatresports, one of the most popular ways of “packaging” improvisation for public performance yet devised. He founded the Loose Moose Theatre, which was an ideal home for the energetic young Canadian improvisers he was teaching, and although Keith has now stepped down from the Moose it still presents his formats and runs an annual summer school which attracts improvisation practitioners from all over the world.
Keith published the book Impro in 1979, a collection of his thoughts and ideas about improvisation. Continuously in print ever since, it is now regarded as a classic. This was followed by Impro for Storytellers in 1999.
基思（Keith）在1979年出版了《 Impro》一书，收集了他关于即兴创作的思想和观念。此后一直印刷，现在被视为经典。随后是1999年的Impro for Storytellers。
At Second City, the schism previously mentioned was dividing the company. Some practitioners held that using improvisation to develop terrific cabaret was certainly possible, provided it was understood that improvisation, whether in public or in private, was fundamentally a writing tool: excellent at developing inspiration and finding new ideas,lousy at delivering those ideas with economy and focus. Others, including Del Close, held that improvisation was a uniquely exciting process which thrilled audiences.
In the 1980s, Del and his partner Charna Halpern left Second City to found ImprovOlympic, now generally known simply as IO. Today, IO is a major force in improvisation, especially in Chicago, whereas almost all of Second City’s performances are of scripted sketch material. Both institutions teach improvisation, and each has become a training ground for many familiar faces from American TV and movies, including Bill Murray, Chris Farley, John Belushi and countless others. Today, Chicago is home to dozens of improvisation companies and annually hosts the Chicago Improv Festival, probably the largest improv festival in the world. The Spontaneity Shop was very happy to be invited to take part in 2005, and artistic director Jonathan Pitts was a most generous and engaging host.
在1980年代，Del和他的搭档Charna Halpern离开Second City成立了ImprovOlympic，现在通常简称为IO。如今，IO已成为即兴创作的主要力量，尤其是在芝加哥，而Second City的几乎所有表演都是使用脚本草拟的材料。两家机构都教授即兴演奏，并且已经成为美国电视和电影中许多熟悉的面孔的训练场，其中包括比尔·默里，克里斯·法利，约翰·贝鲁什和无数其他人。如今，芝加哥拥有数十家即兴创作公司，每年都会举办芝加哥即兴音乐节，这可能是世界上最大的即兴音乐节。自发商店很高兴被邀请参加2005年，艺术总监乔纳森·皮茨（Jonathan Pitts）是最慷慨和最吸引人的主持人。
Because neither Spolin nor Boal endorsed improvisation as anything more than a process, and because although Second City does perform improvisation, they do not charge for these performances which are tacked on to the end of their (usually excellent) satirical revue shows, we are left with just two leaders in the fifi eld of performance improvisation: Del and Keith. The tension between their points of view, and the reasons for our broad allegiance to Keith Johnstone, are threads which have been woven throughout this book.