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The Michael Chekhov Acting method

posted Apr 30, 2018, 8:35 AM by Catherine West
The Michael Chekhov acting method is an approach to the acting process from an unusual angle, using illogical and irrational ways rather than logical and rational. This technique is based on eastern spiritual work and natural unconscious processes in our everyday lives. This acting technique is suitable for professional actors as much as for inexperienced, unprofessional people, and can help bring joy and ease to the stressful actors life. All the exercises are personal and can be fully experienced by any interested person.
 
Chekhov endeavored to uncover and teach ways through which actors could tap into their subconscious minds - and the universal experience of humanity - through various exercises. He felt that it was important that actors not limit their characters by drawing from their limited, conscious, worldly experiences. He felt that infinite experiences of humanity were stored in the subconscious mind and could be accessed through physical gestures and other exercises that were seemingly „external“ in nature. Specifically, one way in which Chekhov bridged the gap between the subconscious and the conscious - was through the use of „Psychological Gesture.“ Through this exercise, an actor will physicalize an internal need or emotion through an external gesture. This outward gesture, and its accompanying feelings, are then drawn back in and internalized.
 
This technique is very wide, but it has some key elements that are present through all the exercises: everything is psychophysical (body and mind connected), everything is personal to you (you can experience an exercise completely different from your colleagues), it is about some kind of physical and emotional transformation. The main goal of this technique is to transform.
 
In theory, through these exercises one can relieve himself from stress and too much thinking and start experiencing new feelings, created by his own imagination. Psychophysical transformation should help a person to leave his own problems behind and to experience a different character. Jumping from one feeling to the other, fully understanding a character helps one to better understand himself too.
 
See the video about pilot training in Lithuania here.
Artūras Dubaka
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