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To the Actor

To the Actor
Your Price: $45.99 CDN
Author: Michael Chekhov
Edited by: Mala Powers
Foreword by: Simon Callow
Preface by: Yul Brynner
Illustrated by: Nicolai Remisoff
Publisher: Routledge
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 222
Pub. Date: 2002
Edition: 2nd
ISBN-10: 0415258766
ISBN-13: 9780415258760

About the Book:

To the Actor is a "class in a book" that provides a solid foundation in the famous "psycho-physical" technique Michael Chekhov created; which draws on physical actions and mind-body connection to create a sensual approach to the character. His simple and practical method, successfully used by actors (and directors) all over the world, will train your imagination and body to quickly and effectively call up emotion, develop characters, and strengthen awareness.

Michael Chekhov was a world-renowned early-20th-century Russian actor, nephew to the famed playwright Anton Chekhov. He was a true chameleon, mesmerizing audiences by making consistently bold choices and disappearing into fully fleshed-out, unique characters. Chekhov was openly praised by Konstantin Stanislavsky as his most brilliant student and was highly respected by Group Theatre luminaries such as Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Lee Strasberg, and Harold Clurman. (Any actor who doesn't know who Harold Clurman was should look him up.)

Michael Chekhov developed his own revelatory approach to acting and prominent actors in Hollywood who studied with him were: Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, Clint Eastwood, Leslie Caron, Anthony Quinn, Ingrid Bergman, Jack Palance, Lloyd Bridges, and Yul Brynner (who wrote the preface to Chekhov's To the Actor). Other prominent actors who did not study directly with Michael Chekhov, but who benefited from his techniques are Anthony Hopkins, Jack Nicholson, Richard Kiley, Johnny Depp, and Clint Eastwood, to name a few.

The Michael Chekhov technique favours the actor's intuition and instinct over the intellect and restores humour and spirit to the rehearsal process. This revised and expanded edition of his classic text To the Actor is the perfect handbook for actors and directors. Read this book and you will find inspiration for your art and practical, effective tools for your craft. Michael Chekhov understood the path an actor takes to fulfill their desire to be the best actor they can be and found ways to help actors develop and improve their work.

How does an actor learn to:
Call up emotion?
Develop a character?
Strengthen awareness?

These are essential techniques for every actor, and Michael Chekhov explains, clearly and concisely, how to develop them. This edition of To the Actor has been revised and expanded by Mala Powers. It includes a previously unpublished chapter on the most popular aspect of Chekhov's techniques, Psychological Gesture. Through this exercise, an actor will physicalize an internal need or emotion through an external gesture. This outward gesture, and its accompanying feelings, are then drawn back in and internalized. Celebrated director, Andrei Malaev-Babel, has translated this new chapter into English for the very first time and provides an invaluable commentary to give you with new ways to apply Psychological Gesture. There is also a foreword by highly acclaimed actor Simon Callow and a new biography of Chekhov by Mala Powers.

What people say:

"The actor should never worry about his talent, but rather about his lack of technique, his lack of training, and his lack of understanding of the creative process." — Michael Chekhov, from To the Actor

"It's good to have this book available again." — Stage Directions

"Its greatest virtue is not so much that you can't put it down but that you have to put it down - in order to try it out." — Research in Drama Education

"There's this need to continue growth; to expand. For me, Michael Chekhovs system is the most complete." — Robert Davi, interviewed on the set of his TV series, The Profiler

"To the Actor is by far the best book that I have read on the subject of acting. Actors, directors, writers and critics will be grateful for it." — Gregory Peck

"This new publication of To the Actor should be welcomed by all of us with one of the most universal of Psychological Gestures – open arms." — James Lipton, Producer and host of Inside the Actor's Studio

"Just practicing, even superficially, the first nine exercises in To the Actor, you can find a satisfaction – a living beauty in you... Michael Chekhov reminds us what a great feast life can be." — Anthony Quinn

"You have to teach yourself to act but Michael Chekhov will give you the necessary tools – and for me, Psychological Gesture and Centers are extremely valuable... They work like a charm. I've used them all along and still do." — Clint Eastwood

"While my mother and sister were hiding in the dark and kind of watching me, ya know, hoping I was going to be in the movie business, I turned around and imagined I saw my director making fun of my newly acquired Psychological Gesture from Michael Chekhov." — Jack Nicholson, at the 1998 Golden Globe awards (speaking about his first job)

"I had always loved acting and tried hard to learn it. But with Michael Chekhov, acting became more than a profession to me. It became a sort of religion." — Marilyn Monroe, from her book, My Story

"I like to physicalize. I like to talk about Michael ChekhovPsychological Gesture." — Sir Anthony Hopkins, from his Inside the Actor's Studio interview

About the Author:

Michael Chekhov (1891-1955) was a Russian actor, director, theatre practitioner and author, referred to by Konstantin Stanislavski as his most brilliant student. He was the nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov and was a distinguished actor but his work in theatre education may be his most important legacy. In 1942 he was invited to Hollywood, where he became an acting coach to the stars, acted in many films, published his book, To the Actor.

Mala Powers (1931-2007) was an American actress. Studying with Michael Chekhov in her early years, she later became a noted university lecturer and teacher, founding the Michael Chekhov Drama Group in Los Angeles and becoming a leading authority on the Chekhov acting technique.

Simon Callow is an English actor, musician, writer, and theatre director. He has appeared widely on stage, television and in films, and is best known for the highly successful films Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love, as well as his many starring roles in the West End and at the National Theatre. He has directed drama, musicals and comedy, and has written several books on actors and acting.

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