Search

Translate

Michael Chekhov Psychological Gestures

by Mark Coleman


I am an actor/theatre director/drama teacher who recently stumbled across Authentic Movement through my interest in Eugene Gendlin's Focusing, after I recently came across some very illuminating articles about movement on the internet which drew parallels between the two methodologies. One was Barbara Chutroo’s Meet Your Body,
( http://www.focusing.org/bodywork.html )

I am new to the idea of AM, but I think I have been using it for a number of years without being aware of it, in my synthesis of Michael Chekhov's Psychological Gesture (PG) techniques with Focusing. I was immediately struck by the congruity of the creative/performance applications of Chekhov's PG & Focusing with the Authentic Movement process.

Chekhov taught actors what he called the Psychological Gesture: “the embodied essence of the character” which would condense the intricate psychology of a character into a powerful, clear and simple movement; an organic, moving metaphor.”

Of course, both Focusing and Chekhov’s exercises are psycho – physical processes and have much in common with Authentic Movement as I see it. All three connect the inner life to a communication with the body, which is really the essence of acting, it seems to me. All three techniques seek pathways by which the heart and soul can be fully em-bodied and in-corporated, the inner made outer, the invisible made visible.

I would love to know if anyone else out there has any experience of the extraordinary complementarity of these three techniques, particularly when applied to the actor’s creative process.

copyright 2008

Betina said...

I have just read Mark Coleman's text and also Aileen Crow's comments on acting as an experience of embodying for communication. I have worked as an actress for 20 years in a group with a deep commitment to investigation. I have been practising AM for 13 years. Now I teach in an acting studio in Spain and have been using AM as a powerful resource for investigating and deepening the actor's relationship with the material being worked (characters, text, author, period, space). Although I am familiar with M Chekov's technique and with Focusing, in my work with actors I have concentrated my interest in Authentic Movement and in other expressive movement techniques (www.rioabierto.org.ar). I feel very stimulated with the possibility of exchanging more about this! Thank you. Betina Waissman

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 2:03:00 PM EDT

Delete
Anonymous rebecca vernooy said...

Hi from Ohio University. Nice to say "hello" to my fellow movers, and touch base with this community. I have been doing Authentic Movement for over twenty years, and teaching Movement for Actors for over a decade.

Responding to Mark Colemen's discovery of aligning AM with Psychological Gesture....My currculum for Movement for Actors is based in AM, and incorporates several somatic methodologies. I have also seen the similarities between AM and Chekov's PG.

when working with text and character, I guide the acting students into a sesion of AM. They allow a movement/gesture to emerge that feels intuitively right for the person they are to embody. After refining the gesture, and making it specific, the movement becomes an anchor. It can be one in a series (ie: for a monologue or within a scene)or it can be a physical "emotional prepartation". The result from this way of working is the same as Psychological Gesture. It is the approach that might be different.

I have found that the initial, intuitive movement impulse that the actor uncovers connects that person to a "character" in a very visceral, raw and dynamic way. When they get lost or in "their head", they can immediately return to the body via the original gesture/movement anchor. It makes for very truthful and embodied acting.

I have written alot about AM and acting training, and will be writing about aligning AM and Chekov's work in the near future (my plans for an article on the subject had to be postponed since I am trying to balance life with my seven week old and my academic, creative life).

I can be contacted at vernooyr@aol.com, and welcome any inquiries.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 3:09:00 PM EDT

3 comments:

Betina said...

I have just read Mark Coleman's text and also Aileen Crow's comments on acting as an experience of embodying for communication. I have worked as an actress for 20 years in a group with a deep commitment to investigation. I have been practising AM for 13 years. Now I teach in an acting studio in Spain and have been using AM as a powerful resource for investigating and deepening the actor's relationship with the material being worked (characters, text, author, period, space). Although I am familiar with M Chekov's technique and with Focusing, in my work with actors I have concentrated my interest in Authentic Movement and in other expressive movement techniques (www.rioabierto.org.ar). I feel very stimulated with the possibility of exchanging more about this! Thank you. Betina Waissman

rebecca vernooy said...

Hi from Ohio University. Nice to say "hello" to my fellow movers, and touch base with this community. I have been doing Authentic Movement for over twenty years, and teaching Movement for Actors for over a decade.

Responding to Mark Colemen's discovery of aligning AM with Psychological Gesture....My currculum for Movement for Actors is based in AM, and incorporates several somatic methodologies. I have also seen the similarities between AM and Chekov's PG.

when working with text and character, I guide the acting students into a sesion of AM. They allow a movement/gesture to emerge that feels intuitively right for the person they are to embody. After refining the gesture, and making it specific, the movement becomes an anchor. It can be one in a series (ie: for a monologue or within a scene)or it can be a physical "emotional prepartation". The result from this way of working is the same as Psychological Gesture. It is the approach that might be different.

I have found that the initial, intuitive movement impulse that the actor uncovers connects that person to a "character" in a very visceral, raw and dynamic way. When they get lost or in "their head", they can immediately return to the body via the original gesture/movement anchor. It makes for very truthful and embodied acting.

I have written alot about AM and acting training, and will be writing about aligning AM and Chekov's work in the near future (my plans for an article on the subject had to be postponed since I am trying to balance life with my seven week old and my academic, creative life).

I can be contacted at vernooyr@aol.com, and welcome any inquiries.

Christian Damek said...

My name is Christian Damek and I am a yoga and massage therapist in private practice near Yosemite in Sonora, CA. I have worked with Fathers Ed McMahon Ph.D. and Peter Campbell, Ph.D. for the past 10+ years here in Sonora. They founded the Institute for BioSpiritual Research as a means of presenting their evolution of Eugene Gendlin's findings. They have studied and refined the pedagogy of focusing by emphasizing loving-caringness for one's own sometimes difficult, sometimes enjoyable Felt Senses in the body. As a massage therapist I have successfully incorporated their process into my work with clients. I am just about now ready to explore the connection of PG and yoga asanas in my first weekend workshop collaboration with actress, teacher and director Janis Stevens called "Psychological Gesture and Asana" - a hands-on exploration of fusing the practice of PG and yoga practice. It is by far the most exciting new development in my therapeutic work in years, and I look forward to correspondence RE: AM, PG and yoga asana. In case anyone feels drawn to participate in this intriguing pilot project (and have a great get-away in The Mother Lode: Sonora, July 10 1-4pm at the Yogaloft) please consider this an invitation.