« Improvisation on the edge : notes from on and off stage »

Dancer Ruth Zaporah has created Action Theater, a form influenced by Zen which explores physical improvisation and interaction. 

“These tales invigorate and inspire like a cup of strong black coffee. Ruth weaves word spells so we suddenly are traveling with her back and forth between our wild imagination and this relative world, and to Croatia and Yugoslavia.
“If you are a theater maker, read this. If you improvise, read this. If you teach creative process, read this and share it with your students. Wondrous stories from a powerful and tender woman artist, teacher, meditator, and embodied improvisator.
“We are caught by surprise, comforted by the familiar, and filled with gratitude as Ruth unfolds the mystery of the ‘inside of things.’ In front of us is an open field. A wild wood surrounds it. Everything we find out there folds into our spontaneous improvisation. The characters we inhabit are fully human yet are fluid and magical.
“Truly a gift to the next generation; to teachers and performers and artists. So many ecstatic declarations of having this body, right here, right now. Relish these tales of the inventive glory in teaching embodied improvisation then ponder the questions between teacher and student.”—Barbara Dilley, professor of contemporary performance at Naropa University, contemplative arts practitioner, and author of Teaching Thinking Dancing

“Ruth Zaporah has truly loved her art, listened to it, been surprised by it, submitted to its demands, followed it faithfully, and through this deep prac- tice has gained a profound mastery of creative work and of life. She has developed improvisation as a true form of Zen—the white space of the stage meets the open mind of the meditator. Embodied presence as Ruth shows it is an important doorway to understanding what it’s all really about. Reading Ruth’s book is exhilarating and encouraging for anyone wanting to live a genuine and creative life; it makes me glad to be alive.”—John Tarrant, author of The Light Inside the Dark— Zen, Soul, and the Spiritual Life
About the Author
Perhaps the most influential improv artist of her generation, RUTH ZAPORAH is a performer and director known internationally for her innovative work in physical theater improvisation training. Zaporah is the creator of Action Theater, an improvisational performance skill training process that is used in dance and theater institutes all over the world. She is a two-time recipient of National Endowment Choreography Fellowships and in 1994 was honored with a Sustained Achievement award by the San Francisco Bay Area Dance Association. She has served as a Cultural Envoy for the U.S. State Department. Zaporah spends much of her time on tour, performing and leading trainings both in the U.S. and abroad in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, England, Australia, China, and Israel. She has a special interest in performing for unconventional audiences: in 1994, she performed in theaters and refugee camps in Serbia and Croatia during the Yugoslav wars, followed by special performances in 2000 in Kosovo and Sarajevo. Her articles on improvisation have been regularly published in Contact Quarterly, a magazine for new dance forms, and she is a contributor to Shambala Publications’s anthology Being Bodies: Buddhist Women on the Paradox of Embodiment

« Action Theater: The Improvisation of Presence ». by Ruth Zaporah

Let go.Play with it. Don’t think. Use what you have. Make it up as you go along….

« The Playwright’s Workbook », a play writing textbook by Jean-Claude van Itallie. In the book Jean-Claude offers techniques he’s invented for writing plays.