Essay by dmarsicoUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

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Improv began, and continues today, as an organizational technology capable of managing actors on stage and enabling them to produce interesting and entertaining narratives without relying on a script (Fulleylove, 1984). Throughout its history in the arts, improv has been highly valued for its ability to enable performers to respond immediately and inventively to each other and their environment. All improv activities are literally saturated with the spirit of spontaneity that is so essential for any act of creation. A definition of improve in the Oxford English Dictionary is "to invent and perform music or drama without planning it in advance" (2002)

If you want to look into the ancient history of improvisation you must look to the Commedia dell'Arte that was performed in Renaissance Italy during the mid-16th century. This form was characterized by rude and risqué slapstick during improvised scenes, with some characters wearing masks (Fulleylove, 1984). Eventually stock characters appeared and the rest is history.

This form of entertainment was enjoyed for about 200 years before it dwindled out of popular culture.

Today improv promotes successful group effort. In order to succeed, participants must attend to their partners' communication and accept and build upon each other's actions while remaining as flexible as possible. As a result, everyone is empowered to interactively discover his or her inherent creative potential.

Improv is fun and a common side effect of most improv experiences is laughter. It is widely accepted that introducing humor into the training process enhances learning and improves retention. Importantly, improv introduces and supports a brand of inclusive humor in which everyone feels welcomed. This can be contrasted to the exclusive type of humor that marginalizes individuals or groups and often has serious repercussions in the workplace. At the conclusion of any improv training, participants feel lighter, healthier,