The Chekhov Training is a comprehensive master course in acting. It runs from late September into early the following August, with pauses in December/January, March and late May/June.
A series of nine, four-week Sessions comprises the whole program. Each Session meets twice weekly. Successive Sessions introduce a new primary theme, while at the same time advancing the preceeding work.
The sequence of Sessions, like the Chekhov method itself, is organic in nature; although it has many constituents, from a certain point of view all parts are one. The training develops in a way such that the actor achieves ever-greater levels of psycho-physical awareness and sensitivity while, at the same time, deepening his practical knowledge of acting craft.
The course is grounded in a system of physical and imaginative exercises based on lawful principles of the creative process. Our disciplined approach emphasizes mastery of Michael Chekhov’s core techniques.
Training is conducted in an ensemble-oriented environment. Actors are strongly encouraged, as well, to maintain an independent (at home) daily practice based on their practical experience with exercises, techniques and creative principles. Repetition is the key to growth.
Michael Chekhov was regarded as the most uniquely gifted actor of his generation. On stage and on screen, Chekhov was acclaimed for his brilliant and original characterizations, improvisational inventiveness, and commanding presence. Notwithstanding his achievements as actor and director, Chekhov's greatest legacy is his method – an objective (universal-lawful) approach to the art of acting based on a lifetime's experience and research with the creative process.
Central to his method is an image of the Ideal Actor. Chekhov is ever-conscious of the two-fold organization of the actor’s instrument. As an embodied being, the actor is corporeal: he has a physcial body. As a self-conscious being with thoughts, feelings, and will impulses, she has an active inner life, a psyche or soul, capable of experiencing an inner-, as well as an outer-, world. In Chekhov’s vocabulary, the term “psycho-physical” is shorthand to indicate the actor’s whole instrument, which by its essential parts is both physical and psychological-spiritual. Understandably then, the first goal of the method is for the two component parts of the actor’s whole to develop together in the direction of their highest potential.
Practical, elegant and artistic, the Chekhov method is founded on creative principles, techniques, and exercises that respect and unleash the actor’s highest nature. With its recognition of the true nature of the actor-human being, it is easily distinguished from other methods of acting. The approach is necessarily both physical and psychological, thereby developing of the actor’s whole instrument while at the same time facilitating the actor's acquisition of a comprehensive professional craft.
Chekhov training awakens and elaborates the actor’s artistic imagination, strengthens the capacity for intense inner action, and loosens habitual restrictions to expressive emotion. Professional application of the method satisfies the actor’s longing for transformation.
“Chekhovian” acting is evident in the totality of dramatic qualities that include exceptional originality, boldness, daring, physical and emotional expressivity, radiant presence, and truthful characterization. The Chekhovian actor is a pioneer of sorts, a harbinger of the Theatre of the Future.
The principles and techniques of his method are outlined in Chekhov’s book, To The Actor, about which theatre anthropologist and director Eugenio Barba wrote: “One of the best practical manuals for the training of the “realistic” actor. It should be read and re-read, reflected upon, pried into.”
The first Session of The Chekhov Training prepares and establishes the ground for subsequent Sessions. The Sesssions that follow comprise, together with the first, the whole program.
- Session 1: The Actor's Instrument
- Session 2: The Creative Individuality
- Session 3: The Imagination
- Session 4: The Objective
- Session 5: The Psychological Gesture
- Session 6: The Archetype
- Session 7: Characterization
- Session 8: Composition and Style
- Session 9: Rehearsal and Performance
The actor’s feeling for scenic truth, expressive emotion, actor’s faith, ensemble, rhythm and continuous improvisation are some of the other fundamentals trained continuously throughout the course year.
The Chekhov Training aims:
- To advance the balanced development of the actor’s whole psycho-physical instrument for the unique creative demands of our profession
- To provide the actor creative tools and practical knowledge to support the ambition to grow as an actor and succeed as a professional
- For the actor to acquire a reliable approach to creative inspiration in performance on stage and on camera
- To nourish and encourage the actor’s unique creative individuality
- To unleash the actor’s latent creative and expressive capacities, the talent
Dedicated actors can be confident of progressing in the direction of these aims over the course of the year’s training. With the commitment to consistent practice of our techniques, actors can be confident of strengthening their acting skills, cultivating their creative natures, and furthering their professional prospects and accomplishments.
The Chekhov Training represents a healthy and dependable approach to freeing the actor’s talent and highest potential. Upon completion of The Chekhov Training, actors can further pursue the path of mastery with advanced Chekhov training and further application of the method in rehearsal and performance.
How to Apply
Actors are expected to begin The Chekhov Training at the fall term start. Because the nature of the program is organic (the whole is present in each of the individual parts) it is sometimes possible to join mid-year, provided the actor has previous experience with our method or a natural facility for psycho-physical training.
Actors may apply to The Chekhov Training following an interview with the studio director.