Saturday, December 8, 2012

On the Technique of Acting by Michael Chekhov

Michael Chekhov. On the Technique of Acting. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1991 (originally published in 1942).

Chekhov states an actor needs to “go beyond the playwright or the play” to discover the character’s true nature. Chekhov’s acting technique used a “linguistic approach” using imagery. Stanislavsky told actors to find the “truth” in actual reactions. Chekhov wanted the actors to use their imagination,

Stanislavsky wanted actors to use actual memories to drive their performances. Chekov urged for fictional stimuli to produce the emotions in acting.

Chekhov believed an actor had to leave one’s own character, or ego, and find a Higher Ego for the character being portrayed. He using imagination to do so, instead of the Affected Memory that Stanislavsky urged  be used.

Chekov taught actor to use sensory stimuli from external feelings, called Atmosphere and Qualities, that are added to instincts in order to produce a role. Qualities of feelings would be added to the motions or gestures. The Psychological Gesture would emerge from one’s subconscious into one’s performance.

Actors should use movements, dialogues, ideas, stands, and shapes, or the Composition, to channel their work. Actors need to be aware of the plan’s nature and reality, using a Feeling of Style, as well as opening themselves to a Feeling of Truth, plus with a Feeling of Ease, a Feeling of Beauty, and a Feeling of Entirety that composes a finished performance.  The acting essence involves Radiating acting strength and Receiving performances from other actors. Chekhov urges Improvising when preparing work to explore a character. The actor should recognize other actors in a feeling of Ensemble. The actor should be aware of the Focal Point, which is usually designated by a director s to what should receive the audience’s greatest attention.

Characters have a Objective and a Super-Objective which involves action.

The Atmosphere is the environmental senses an actor feels.

Chekhov write that our imagination and observing our surroundings broaden our awareness and makes us more creative, The actor should develop an instinctive sense of creating a true and logical performance. An actor should have a flexible imagination. He is the Higher Ego that simulates the imagination.

The actor should derive inspiration from Atmosphere. This stimulates Feelings that create the art of acting.

Action and Will shows what happens while Quality and Feelings demonstrate how things happen. Each Action and gesture emerge from a Will-impulse that stimulates the Will. Gestures and Will-impulse are more expressive the more they’re used.

Actors lean he chest’s “Center” is a center of an entire active person, An actor’s body is used constantly when acting.

The Will exists and is expressed in feet and legs. They move the body with a pace that can be varied The entire head is used toward’s expressions, Hands, arms, and the chest show feelings.

An actors’ psychological state carries through in Action or Gesture with correct Qualities and Images. Movement is physical Gesture plus psychological Qualifies and Images. Movement is physical Gesture plus psychological Qualities and Iages, Gesture with Feelings is the Psychological Gesture.

An actor must be dedicated and patient in transforming Transactions to a subconscious that drives the actor.

An actor should find that Psychological Gestures produces power, charm, beauty, and significance.

Actors must observe other characters. The actor changes into a role.

It is an actor’s Objective to show the Will-impulses according to what is required in acting. The Objective can be found from one’s Will or appealing to one’s Will through experiencing the Objective. The Objective is found through the Psychological Gesture.

The actor achieves an awakening and increase in inner Activity through Psychological Gesture, Speech Formation, Objective, and Atmosphere. When they appear human when acting, it can appeal to show simplicity in the character.

With the correct Activity, an actor will Radiate emotions, Will-impulses, Feelings, and Images.

An actor who understands Preparation and Sustaining when acting should give a “significant and harmonious” performance.

An actor must use the correct tempo and pause.

The stages of the creative process are using the Atmosphere to activate the Higher Ego, using imagination and Psychological Gesture, apply Qualities to acting, and inspre the actor with a Divided Consciousness.

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