Recommended by Keith

Published by ShawnKinley on

Recommended by Keith...

After a performance lacking in substance, devoid of refence to current events, or having no point of view, Keith Johnstone would often say, “Read a newspaper, read a book. It will improve your work on stage.”

He encouraged us to watch a good movie or TV series that peeled back human nature. And in any class he taught, he always had an opinion about what might be worth reading, watching, exploring. 

Here are some of his favourites from Improvisers around the world.

*Comments in “quotation” are Keith’s. Other comments will be attributed to the person making the comment. Enjoy.

TITLETYPEKeith recommended to...COMMENTS
AUDITION - Michael ShurtleffBook(Various)
BARN BURNING – William FaulknerBooksSteve Jarand
Spanish newspapers and magazines. Maybe that was just for me. To encourage me to keep my second language.Derek Flores
THE CIRCUS (1st half) - Charlie ChaplinMoviesSteve Jarand
CITY LIGHTS - Charlie ChaplinMoviesSteve Jarand
CROWDS AND POWER – Elias CanettiBooksSteve Jarand
DON’T SHOOT THE DOG - Karen Pryor.BookPatti StilesThis is where the dolphin game came from.
THE EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE – Von KleistBooksSteve Jarand
HIDDEN FORTRESS - KirosawaMoviesSteve Jarand
I often heard Keith say, "I read everything!" It made me read anything, and I always find something I can use in a scene or my everyday life.
Steen Haakon Hansen
IN THE REALM OF HUNGRY GHOSTS – Gabor MatéBooksSteve Jarand
THE KILLING FIELDSMovieYuri KinugawaKeith used to tell me his favorite film is The Killing Fields
THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL –MoviesSteve JarandTo see Monroe out act Olivier
LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI - Mark TwainBookNeal LeaheeySaid to me in reference to how improv companies and the iTi should relate to one another.
MONSTER’S BALL – Marc ForsterMoviesSteve Jarand
WALLACE & GROMMITMoviesJeff Gladstonehe said the penguin was such a good actor
TAXI CAB CONFESSIONS.SeriesRebecca NorthanAmazing series. Saw Keith cry during more than one episode, and showed one as an example of, "the best seduction scene of all time".
TRUTH OR DARE – Madona DocumentaryMoviesSteve Jarand
WUTHERING HEIGHTS –MoviesSteve JarandTo see an “I hate you.” mantra during a love scene.
ZEN AND THE ART OF ARCHERYBookShawnGreat state of mind for being present.
SEVEN SAMURAIMovieRebecca Northan
THE ARTISTMovieDoug WongWe would go out to see films occasionally and he loved "The Artist". He shared a deep dive analysis of it with me the next day including his observation regarding the frame rates that were used in the film.
THE STRAIGHT STORY – David LynchMoviesSteve Jarand
MY WICKED WICKED WAYS- Errol Flynns AutobiographyBookJeff GladstoneKeith said "true stories are always so much more unbelievable than any fiction"
SURELY YOU'RE JOKING MR FEYNMAN! - Richard P. Richard Feynman.BookVarious
Did Keith mention a book, movie, play or poem that he thought was worth reading watching or pondering?Send it in and we'll try to include it on our little list here.Email Us"
IKIRU - KirosawaMOVIEVariousI believe I have seen Ikiru 6 or 7 times with Keith, after the end, he was sitting there on the couch, with a bit of tear in his eyes, saying: "That´s what it is all about!" - Steen Haakon Hansen
INNER GAME OF TENNIS.BookShawn Kinley(great for teachers)
THE KID - Charlie ChaplinMoviesSteve Jarand
NINA PALEY – AnimationsMoviesSteve Jarand
Tao Te ChingBookVarious
The Body Has Its Reasons: Self-Awareness Through Conscious Movement" by Therese BertheratBookTheresa Robbins Dudeck

Kaputt, by Curzio MalaparteBook Steen Haakon Hansen
The Skin, by Curzio MalaparteBookSteen Haakon Hansen
Battle For the Mind by William SargantBookAnton Van Helden -A book that looks at the effect of brain-washing from a scientific perspective, with insights into a range of brainwashing techniques e.g. voodoo, religion, effects of war, etc.

Keith gave it to me while we sat and had a drink in a cafe in Wellington, New Zealand, as I doodled a caricature of him, which led to a discussion about 5000 faces. Very memorable.

Recommended By Keith


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