The Michael Chekhov Technique is a psychophysical technique that utilizes the body and the imagination, and the knowledge that two are inextricably linked. The technique exercises our body as a resource and a means of expression. It trains the imagination to have a bigger and deeper role in our process. And where the two dovetail is really the magic of the work.
Chekhov wanted us to narrow the gap between impulse and expression, and he also understood that “inherent in every actor is the desire for transformation.” The technique offers a way to train the body and imagination, and listen more deeply to the body and imagination as a resource for transformation.
The focus is on the actual doing and experiencing “on your feet” right away. Through different psychophysical exercises, actors quickly start developing a sensation of inspiration and learn to trust their own artistic individuality. All the while, they are also discovering ways to bypass mental acting blocks and preconditioned ideas of themselves, other people, or acting in general.
The Chekhov Technique is like a really reliable friend. If you find yourself on the receiving end of an un-actable direction, if you find yourself knowing what you want in a scene but not knowing HOW to get it, if you find yourself faced with a character that is very different from you and you don’t know where to begin, Michael Chekhov’s work is an invaluable tool that can address in real time and in real exercises these actors’ dilemmas.
Ultimately, as actors, we are looking for a process to engage in, an activity that enlivens us, and if we find the right one, we are off to the races. Chekhov’s work is such an ignition, and it gives us a playful, creative, safe way to work. In this workshop we will play with some tools and principles from the technique so you can get a sense of the vast resource it has to offer the actor.
Please bring a brief monologue memorized, or if you have a scene with another participant, feel free to bring that in.