As the book nears completion I reached out to People & Chairs, my favorite improv blog, to see if they’d be interested in doing a feature on it. They sent me a list of questions which caused me to think pretty deeply about the book, why I wrote it, what it’s about, and why it’s special. I had a great time trying to answer the questions, and I think the resulting article is pretty great. Below is some of it, and the rest you can find over at People & Chairs.
P&C: How is Take It Easy different from other improv books out there?
RM: I think mostly just because it’s written from my point of view. It’s a personal book, with lots of anecdotes and reflections based on my experience performing and teaching all around Europe and North America. And I tried to write it as I teach, so it maintains that perspective throughout.
Also, Take It Easy isn’t an improv manual. Although I love teaching improv fundamentals to absolute beginners, I had no desire to write a book of improv basics for newbies, or even a book of “rules.”
This was partially because I wanted to speak to the core demographic of improvisers – people who are improvisers already, and love it, but are looking to elevate their game. Why else are they reading a book about it?
The other reason I didn’t write a book for beginners is because that area is so well covered by other texts. There was no need for me to retread an area that’s already so well-served.
P&C: How does your approach apply to different styles of improvisation?
RM: When I say, “Take It Easy isn’t a new way of doing improv, it’s a mindset that can inform your performance and approach to improvisation,” I mean the book is designed to help the individual performer, no matter where they’re at, or what aspect of improv attracts them most.
I guess I was looking to tackle something that I found universal: there’s a core of good improv habits and practice that will make you a better player, whether you’re doing shortform, longform detailed genre shows, fast-and-loose jams, or something else entirely. These core elements were the thing I wanted to focus on.
For the rest of the interview, surf over to People & Chairs.