Michael Chekhov Technique for Actors

Michael Chekhov developed a technique for actors, in which the body and psychology are one thing. Transformation, working with impulse, imagination and inner and outer gesture are central. It offers the actor clear and practical tools in working with imagination, feelings and atmosphere.

Chekhov's technique is a completely imaginative approach to experiencing the truth of the moment. According to Chekhov, the work of the actor is to create an inner event which is an actual experience occurring in real time within the actor. This inner event as it is being experienced by the actor is witnessed by the audience as an outward expression related to the contextual moment of the play. This event and the ability to create it belong to what Michael Chekhov calls the Creative Individuality of the actor, and is not directly tied to his personality. This Creative Individuality allows the artist actor to use parts of themselves that are not just the smaller meaner more banal elements that make up their daily life, but rather parts of their unconscious, where dwell more universal and archetypal images.

Michael Chekhov (1891-1955)

Michael Chekhov, Nephew of the famous writer and dramatist Anton Chekhov, was a pupil of Constantine Stanislavsky and considered by Stanislavsky to be his most brilliant actor. Marked by the Soviets for arrest, he escaped to the West bringing his methods and techniques to Europe and the USA. In the US, he landed in New York for a time and then Hollywood. Actors who studied and attributed their success as actors include the likes of Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Quinn, and Beatrice Straight.