Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011
Alan Arkin: An Improvised Life (Da Capo Press), by Alan Arkin
The title of Academy Award-winning actor Alan Arkin's new memoir, An Improvised Life, is slightly misleading. The book isn't so much about Arkin's life as it is about improvisation, a theatrical art form he encountered upon landing a gig at the nascent Second City in Chicago. It's clear that Arkin is, well, smitten with improv; it’s the mode in which he moves most comfortably on stage and in his life. He is fascinated by the Zen-like mindfulness and comfort with chaos required in successful improv. While Arkin's thoughts on improv make this book readable, there is little discussion of his films or his life off the stage.