Acting Just Does Not Have to be That Hard
Review by N J Howell
Method vs Chekhov
What is Subtext?
I personally want acting to be fun. Counting out beats, going into memory recall ala Method Acting and other acting techniques made me tired. Then, I found Michael Chekhov, the nephew of famous playwright Anton Checkov.
By the way, check out the Celebrity Chekhov audio book to the left. It's a hilarious concept - reinventing Anton Chekhov classics with the Hiltons and Kardashians.
Falling in love with Michael:To be more precise, I didn't exactly find Michale but I may have found the closet thing to him these days. I found Lisa Dalton who introduced me to the techniques that fit me like a glove. I took acting classes with Lisa Dalton at the Chekhov Connection in Los Angeles and fell in love with the acting techniques of Michael Chekhov. Through incredibly fun and creatively freeing exercises, I learned how to access some pretty amazing levels of emotion without ever being "emotional" myself. It was awesome!
I learned how to create an imaginary body and a psychological gesture, two tools that can inform a character so completely that little else may be needed to flesh out and deliver a unique, powerful and believable performance. I loved the improvs, particularly the ones where we responded to our environment changing and also the ones where a response from the body could cleanly and quickly cause access to very deep emotional places without personal effort or pain.
I highly recommend On the Technique of Acting, specifically, for a good introduction to the way Michael Chekhov approached the craft of acting. Explore a fun, creative way to perform as an actor, from the brilliant mind of Michael Chekhov. Learn to create an imaginary body for your character that informs every movement effortlessly. Discover a way to create an absolute sense of truth in any scene, without any need for reliving a personal experience of pain or trama.
Also recommended: To the Actor by Michael Chekhov
Explore not only the craft of acting as presented by a master actor and teacher but also the metaphysical aspects of the craft. Learn to have fun with your imagination and let go of analysis to create even more believable characters. If you are an actor who has gone through the process of getting in touch with painful, dark places in yourself to prepare for characters, get ready to have some basic assumptions challenged, maybe even experience some resistance to the idea that deep, complex, layered performances can actually be easy, free of personal angst and fun.
Acting Lessons Online: I offer a free acting class here, a sort of introduction to the craft, which includes some exercises I've found valuable in my own creative practice. I incorporate things I learned in my studies of the Chekhov technique and also include some of my own personal tips for freeing the creative genius inside you! If you'd like to play with some acting exercises for expanding your skills as a performer, you are more than welcome to explore the class while visiting The Wellness Library!