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Transcript of Michael Chekhov
(1891 - 1955):
A Brief History... Moscow Arts
Theatre Upbringing After M.A.T Stanislavsky Suvorin Theatre
School Caricatures Rudolf Steiner Edward Gordan Craig
& Meyerhold Aleksandr
Imaginary Body & Center Composition Style Truth Feeling of Ease Feeling of Form Feeling of Beauty Feeling of the Whole Qualities
Feelings (results) Body
Psycho-Physical Exercise Imagination Radiating
"Jewelry" Ensemble Focal Point Objective Atmosphere Psychological Gesture 'The basis for any true art is our ability to live consciously or unconsciously
in the World of Imagination.' Michael Chekhov cited in (Callow 2005:xxiv) CONCLUSION: 'Most of Michael Chekhov's life was occupied with
discovering, demonstrating and writing about his vision
of an Ideal Theatre of the Future and the Ideal Actor.'
According to Callow (2005:xliii) Mala Powers cited in 'Michael Chekhov's Chart for Inspired Acting',
(1991: xxxvi) 'The Psychological Gesture is a means of expressing the entire character
in condensed physical form through an intuitive grasp of the character's
(Chamberlain, F. 2001:72) 'This is a movement that embodies the psychological and
objectives of a character.'
(Chekhov, M. 2005:64) Some of the main aspects that are the focus of Pyschological Gesture are:
By using the actor’s entire body, the actor can create a basic structure of the character and at the same time can get into the different moods required by the script.
The purpose of the overall gesture that the actor uses is to create a character with an objective.
The same gesture can generate different wants in different people.
The psychological gesture has to have a very clear and definite form.
There are also 'Archetypal' gestures which are different to psychological gestures.
Through each aspect of the psychological gesture you should then be able to 'penetrate' and 'stimulate' the depths of your own psychology: through your 'center'. 'The great mission of the actor as well as
the director and the playwright is to save the 'soul'
of the theatre and with it the future of our profession'
Chekhov cited in (Callow 2005:54) Split Consciousness Atmosphere
and Content The Bond
and Audience Atmosphere
Inspires the Actor Soul is created in a character Two contrasting atmospheres cannot co-exist. In contrast to
Stanislavski According to Chekhov 'In the realm of art, in the theatre, there is no excuse for banishing atmospheres...'
Chekhov cited in (Callow 2005:54) Atmosphere is a key form of expression Creating atmosphere is a necessary component of performance. Visualise an Imaginary Body
The Imaginary Body belongs to his or her character.
The actor can learn to inhabit the character through
their imaginary body. According to Mala Powers, (1991:xxxiv)
Through practice the actor can appear to
change the shape of his body and
'physically transform himself into the character'
The actor can experiment with the center in different
areas of the body such as the eye or the stomach,
in order to find the center for their character. Every character has a center.
The center is an imaginary area inside or outside the body.
The center creates the movement, it is where gestures and impulses for movement come from.
Finding a character's center can lead to understanding his or her entire
personality and physical makeup. STEP ONE STEP TWO CENTER The more the actor is able to stimulate the
mind and train their imagination of this idea of
fantasy life the more able the actor will be to
communicate depth and meaning to their character in performance. Despite Stanislavski's favouritism towards
Chekhov, there appeared to be differences in
their opinions, in particular an 'over-heated imagination'
(Marowitz, 2004:39) 'Chekhov believed that truly creative feelings were more effectively conjured up by the actor's imagination, cleansed of all personal associations.'
(Marowitz, C. 2004:58) Sam walked along
the hot dusty road... 'By imagining fairy-tale or dreamlike transformations (a frog into a prince) and paying close attention to the stages of this transformation we will develop both concentraion and a facility for working with images.'
(Chamberlain,F. 2004:46) 'Nearly all acting is the result of the performer's ability to Imagine and reproduce the reality of the play's fiction on stage or screen.'
(Powers, M. 1991: xli) Bibliography
Styan, J. L. (2006). Modern Drama in Theory and Practice Two. Cambridge: Cup.
Chamberlain, F. (2004) Micheal Chekhov. Canada: Routledge.
Gaskill, W. (2010) Words into Action, Finding The Life Of The Play. London: Nick Hern Books Limited.
Kushner, T. (1997) A Dybbuk. New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc.
Braun, E. (1982) The Director and The Stage From Naturalism to Grotowski. London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd.
Gaskill, W. (2010) Words into Action. London: Nick Hern Books Limited.
Pickering, K. (2005) Key Concepts in Drama and Performance. London: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN.
Chamberline, F. (2004) Michael Chekhov. Oxan: Routledge.
Braun, E. (1979) The Theatre of Meyerhold: Revolution on the Modern Stage. Norwich: Fletcher & Sons Ltd.
Simonson, L. (1968) The Theory of the Modern Stage. London: Penguin group.
Werses.S., S. (1986) An-shi's "Between Two Words" (The Dybbuk): A Textual History. Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Braun, E. ( 1982 1982) The Director And The Stage from Naturalism to Grotowski. London: Metyhuen London.
Chekhov, M. (2002) To The Actor on the technique of acting. Abingdon: Routledge.
Evans, M. (2006) Jacques Copeau. Abingdon: Routledge.
Oreglia, G. (1968) The Commedia Dell' Arte. Hampshire: Metheun and Co Ltd.