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IMPROV
for ACTORS

by DAN DIGGLES
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What most people think narrative improvisation requires is exactly wrong.

Most people think good improvisers have to be terribly clever. They don't. The best improv...the funniest, the most serious...happens when they are being terribly obvious. They dare to be average.

Excellent improv is safer and easier than most people imagine.

Dan's teaching is thoughtful, caring, kind, generous, carefully clarified and inspiring. He is one of the most highly complemented instructors with whom I've ever had the pleasure of working.

Gary Sullivan
Department Chairman
Wagner College Theatre Department
Staten Island, NY

Dan has been one of the most sought after instructors in the department because he continues to challenge the student.
     
He encourages risks and nurtures each person to expand and invent relevant actions and reactions in establishing a character and defining the 'given circumstances' of the moment.

Bill Bordeaux,
Professor of Theatre
Marymount Manhattan College
New York, NY

Dan's particular style of improv involves three fundamental rules which teach useful life lessons for anyone who needs to collaborate.
     His constant encouragement and positive outlook are invaluable enhancements to the entertaining and useful content of his classes.

Allen Kennedy
Senior Teacher
The Dalton School
New York, NY

Dan Diggles is an outstanding teacher of Improvisation. His technique and style are unmatched...

Laura Huntsmann,
Education Director
The McCarter Theatre
Princeton, NJ

Dan possesses the incredible capacity to ignite and enthuse, all the while teaching both the necessary skills of drama but also the invaluable skills of survival.
     
His teaching carries with it the experience, wisdom and caring that are so particular to him. Repeatedly Dan proves that learning can also be fun.

Ron DeMaio
Director STAC
Herricks High School
New Hyde Park, NY

This was the best course I've ever taken. Dan Diggles is amazing!

student's faculty-evaluation
Marymount Manhattan College

We have all been bombarded by society...

..."If you conform to our standards we will help you discover who you are." Television, I feel, is currently the most pernicious offender. The whole aim of commercial television is to make you dissatisfied with your life. If you're not dissatisfied, you won't buy things.

So we learn (a) that we will find happiness, success and self-esteem by being other than ourselves, and (b) self-realization takes a great deal of effort, if we are to believe society (and money, if we are to believe TV). The spontaneous self-expression we knew as children is methodically eliminated.

A good improviser, on the other hand...

...knows that his imagination and self-expression should be as effortless as recognizing a face in a crowd. His best choices are his first, obvious, "average" ones.

The great life-lesson of improv is that you are already a unique voice in the arts: If you say what's obvious to you, you will tell a story that is original and fascinating and not necessarily obvious to any one else. How could it be? No one has lived your life.

Improvisation can put you back in touch...

...with this obvious, "average" you. It can be scary because, in a world full of rules, there are no rules for "you".

Improvisation's power is that it makes this journey fun.


DAN DIGGLES was a co-founder of FreeStyle Repertory Theatre, for 15 years one of New York's foremost Improvisational Theatre companies. He has taught Master Classes in Improvisation at Columbia University and the Dalton School, and is currently on the faculty at Marymount Manhattan College, where he teaches both beginning and advanced Improvisation.

As a member of the theatre faculty at Wagner College, Dan taught Acting I, II and III, Period Styles, and "Theatre as a Profession". His book Improv for Actors has been published by Allworth Press.

He has offered classes in acting and speech at the American Stage Company (Paul Sorvino, Artistic Director), and as an Affiliate Artist through grants from the NEA, has been Actor/Teacher in residence for Buffalo Studio Arena Theatre and performed his one-man show Classical Acting, Bartending and Touch Typing nation-wide. Dan gave lecture/demonstrations in Shakespeare and Moliere at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and is the author of "Dare to be Average: The Life Lessons of Improvisation" published in Rehearsals for Growth.

He performed in the National Tour of Cyrano with John Cullum, and his credits include 15 years of Regional Theatre work at the McCarter Theater, Shakespeare & Company, Cincinnati Playhouse and the Hartford Stage Company among others.

Dan has an MFA in Acting from Catholic University, and a BA in Communications from the University of Notre Dame.