The m.c. approach
Michael Chekhov private class in Hollywood about 1950
Understanding Michael Chekhov
Who was Michael Chekhov?
"Michael Chekhov was an actor who was born in Russia and died in Los Angeles, and I think that journey from Russia, to the coast of United State of America encapsulates his life. It also encapsulates the tragedy of the 20th Century, because he had to leave Russia, otherwise he would have been killed, imprisoned or sent of to a camp, because, as the director of the Second Moscow Art Theatre he worked with imaginative impulses, spiritual impulses, that he was profoundly affected by…."
"….I see the genius of Chekhov, that he was able to put into a artistic vocabulary the fundamental principles of a spiritual approach to the work …. the artist always connects with something that is not of the sense perceptible world, that’s what art is, and art really is, for the non-artist a way of accessing that non-perceptible world that profoundly affects our lives in the perceptible...
….so we could say, in a way, if Stanislavsky is more Freud, Michael Chekhov is more Carl Jung…."
What is Michael Chekhov today?
"I don´t see Michael Chekhov as a method, it is more like a technique that we train in order to be able to understand the creative principles that are constantly in operation in our world, so we can use those very same principles in order to create. If my job as an actor is to create realities on stage or in front of the camera, it is likely that observing and understanding the most perfect creation; life, nature, the powerful play that goes on (as Whitman said) I will have access to those very same principles and be able to create in relationship with them. Chekhov was able to point that out and develped exercises so we could understand this beyond the intellect and really own it as a craft. From those seeds that were planted the work keeps growing and being developed because it is as infinite as existence is. Graham taught me that when we create formulas, methods or institutions we fall into the lens of the intellect and we kill that very force that keeps the infinite potential of creativity alive. Any actor has experienced this and knows what I´m talking about..."
Is Michael Chekhov still Hollywood´s best kept secret?
"I don´t think so, in fact I believe this approach has become very popular in the last few years because in every field, we are at stage where humanity needs to reinvent itself and we are craving for new and more creative ways of existing and understanding the world.
I don´t think Chekhov was ever a secret, however not everybody has access to the preparation that is required in order to really understand and own this approach. That´s why his books and lectures are difficult to understand or to practically apply for many. There is a previous training and preparation required before you can actually use this fascinating acting technique, that I like to see as an acting awareness"