3 DAY MICHAEL CHEKHOV
Rejuvenate your creative process with this dive into the Michael Chekhov acting technique! We will explore a variety of exercises aimed to help you integrate your mind, body and imagination. In addition to exploring foundational psycho-physical exercises, we will play with tools aimed to inspire the actor’s emotional life and help you create transformational characters. Join us for a fun, active weekend and put the play back into your acting process!
-- Please have a short monologue or memorized piece of text that you can play with. Don’t have anything? No worries - use the Pledge of Allegiance or a nursery rhyme! --
Please dress in comfortable clothes ready to move. We can easily accommodate actors with differing physical abilities.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
JEANINE HENRY is a National Michael Chekhov Certified Teacher and is also certified in the Meisner technique through True Acting Institute.
She served as Director of Theatre Arts at Eastern Florida State College from 2009 through 2022 where she taught acting, directing, voice, and movement. Most recently she has played Annie Wilkes in Misery and Vivian Bearing in Wit at the Ensemble Company, for which she was nominated for the Orlando Sentinel Critic’s Pick Best Leading Actress in a Drama. Other favorite roles include M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She is an award-winning director, having most recently directed The Gathering for the Cherokee Historical Association in North Carolina. She served as Casting Director and Production Assistant for PGT Entertainment, a provider of entertainment for the cruise ship industry. She has worked in theatre for youth and is co-author of The Emperor’s New Clothes, published by Dramatic Publishing. Jeanine holds a B.A. in Theatre from Agnes Scott College and an M.A. in Theatre from Florida State University.
ABOUT THE TECHNIQUE
The Chekhov Technique is a “psycho-physical” approach to acting; it seeks to ground emotion through physical gestures, a process specifically outlined in Chekhov’s five guiding principles. The Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA), which calls itself “the heart of the international Chekhov community,” defines the artistic goal of the Chekhov Technique as “a connection between the inner response evoked by a physical action and its outer expression.”
In simpler terms, the Chekhov Technique links physicality and movement to emotion, so an actor can stay completely present—and be free to experiment—while onstage or in front of a camera.
Actors studying Chekhov’s philosophies focus on physical action, imagination, and the exchange of energy:
The Psychological Gesture: Derived from the Symbolist theories of writer Andrei Bely, this vital aspect of the Chekhov Technique involves physicalizing a character’s internal want, need, or impulse as an external gesture. The actor practices a physical movement until it’s incorporated internally. Gradually, the actor can minimize the exaggerated gesture, drawing upon the emotions that emerged from physicalizing it. (It’s helpful to use kinetic or “gesturable” verbs rather than passive ones: “push” and “pull” or “shrink” and “grow,” for instance, rather than a vague “want” or “feel.”)
Movement: In many Chekhov exercises, students think about expressing themselves physically. Yoga and other aerobic warm-up exercises that help a performer feel in touch with their body—their instrument—are key.
Radiating: One of the primary goals of the Chekhov Technique is sharing your internal essence—your intentions, choices, and performance—with your scene partners. This idea, called “radiating,” is designed to attune an ensemble of actors to each other’s energy.
Improvisation: Many Chekhov Technique classes rely on group improvisation, either verbal or nonverbal. One exercise, for example, can be completed individually: Invent two different moods, one to start a scene and one to end it, and act out a story that takes a character from one to the other.
EXCERPTED FROM BACKSTAGE.COM