Michael Chekhov On the technique of acting

ISBN 13: 9780060552671

On the technique of acting

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9780060552671: On the technique of acting

The most authoritive, authentic text of a classic guide to acting

In the four decades since its first publication, Michael Chekhov's To the Actor has become a standard text for students of the theater. But To the Actor is a shortened, heavily modified version of the great director/actor/teacher's original manuscript, and On the Technique of Acting is the first and only book ever to incorporate the complete text of that brilliant manuscript. Scholars and teachers of Chekhov's technique have hailed On the Technique of Acting as the clearest, most accurate presentation of the principles he taught Yul Brynner, Gregory Peck, Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Quinn, Beatrice Straight, and Mala Powers, among others.

This new, definitive edition of Chekhov's masterful work clarifies the principles outlined in To the Actor concerning the pivotal role of the imagination in actors' understanding of themselves and the roles they play. On the Technique of Acting also expands on Chekhov's previously published work with many unique features, including:

  • Thirty additional exercises
  • A chapter devoted to screen acting
  • More thorough explanations of the Psychological Gesture, inner tempo vs. outer tempo, and other key concepts of Chekhov's approach

For actors, directors, and anyone interested in the theater, On teh Technique of Acting is an essential handbook.

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Review:

Michael Chekhov, nephew to the Russian playwright and student of Stanislavski, left Russia and his mentor behind to pursue a career as an actor, director, and teacher in Europe and America. While he was an early advocate of Stanislavski, Chekhov differed from the great teacher in important respects, particularly in his insistence on the use of imagination as opposed to memory in creating a role. (In a famous anecdote, Chekhov once performed a "sense memory" exercise in which he broke down over the tragic death of his aunt. When complimented on the truthfulness of his emotion, he admitted that his "aunt" was entirely imaginary.) One of Chekhov's innovations of technique is the "psychological gesture," in which a repeated external action leads to an internal revelation. Due to his insistence on the importance of the physical rather than the simply intellectual, Chekhov's book is as focused on following its series of exercises as it is in study; acting, he would remind us, is always fundamentally a verb. For actors who feel "hemmed in" by an overinsistence on "feeling" a part or in drawing from their own experiences to feed a role, Chekhov's focus on the primal and limitless nature of imagination is tremendously liberating. --John Longenbaugh

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