The Michael Chekhov Technique

Michael Chekhov
Vis a vis The Meisner Technique, The Stella Adler Technique, and the Strasberg Technique.

Of all the 20th century acting techniques, and by acting technique I mean a codified approach to acting, The Michael Chekhov Technique remains the most mysterious and certainly the most misunderstood and misapplied of all prominent 20th century Western acting techniques.

One valid reason for this is that Chekhov wasn’t nearly as adept at promoting himself as his American counterparts from the Group Theater. In the eyes of the media and the creative community, this group of teachers, the most prominent of whom were Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner and Stella Adler, had revolutionized American acting. They each exported to the U.S. often diametrically opposing interpretations of the Stanislavski System, founded their own schools, and trained a new generation of actors who in some cases, went on to become movie stars. Because of the success of this Americanized version of the Stanislavski System, many believed, and still do to this very day, that acting training reached a plateau circa 1950 and there was nothing more to learn from anyone else.

Enter Michael Chekhov and a true solution to the challenges faced by those seeking actor training in Los Angeles. Yes, you can go to many a Meisner class in Los Angeles, but will you be able to connect with the infinite, will you be able to harness the tremendous energies needed to hold an audience spellbound? Not only was much of what Chekhov discovered timeless, many of his concepts were and still are universally accessible because they encompass both Western and Eastern philosophies.

Michael Chekhov, who indeed knew more about Stanislavski’s System of acting instruction than anyone and had actually helped shape and make the System practical by applying it onstage, was eclipsed in America by his American counterparts. But time is now redressing that wrong. The few remaining Chekhov teachers, some of whom are Acting Corps faculty, are moving forward with Chekhov’s work and discovering that his methodology doesn’t restrict, but in truth encourages investigation and innovation. When seeking out acting classes in LA, you owe it to yourself and your craft to investigate the Michael Chekhov approach.

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