10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2009
I will be eternally grateful to the stranger (whose name I forget) at an Isadora Duncan workshop that suggested this book to me. The subject is training the actor's imagination and body to fulfil its potential. But the same techniques are applied in dance. Or can even be applied in life generally.
Have you ever asked yourself, what is the point to all this? Why do I take dance, film, or whatever area of the arts I am working in or writing about, so seriously? Chekov takes us to a place where, instead of making the art form meaningful, you take what is meaningful and find it in the art form. Written in 1953, it is as valuable and relevant, both to dance and movies, now as it was then.
Accolades for Chekov's techniques are quoted on the inside flyleaf from Anthony Quinn, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Marilyn Monroe and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Gregory Peck called it, "by far the best book that I have ever read on the subject of acting. Actors, directors, writers and critics will be grateful for it." I could add the present writer, who has used the merest smidgen of Chekhov's psychological techniques to bring about quite miraculous results to bear on the problems facing himself and his friends in some areas of work.
Chekhov uses transformational imagery. The way he empowers an actor is the way that he can empower a dancer. The same energy that creates new ways of using a camera. But, unlike Stanislavski and the other theorists that are central to the development of new cinema and new dance, Chekov is easy to follow. It's like having a master psychologist sitting on your shoulder, showing you how to approach things differently and opening up more possibilities than you could have ever dreamt of. And each step is totally practical.
Chekhov tells you not about film or about the dance, but he tells you about the creative energy you need to understand and get to grips with both. It's this crossover that makes it an invaluable book for looking at dance film.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2006
I stumbled upon this book while looking in my college library. From reading the forward by Simon Callow: I was hooked. The book Frees The Actor from the simple, dull acting of this materialistic age we live in and it shows The Actor In a simple way, how to unlock the many tresures hidden in Their sub-concious. This book as changed my life and has opened my eyes. To The Actor puts the power back into the actor's hands and gives him a sense of worth. It never doubts the actor's talent. It frees it.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2006
If you are interested in the true art of acting then this is with out doubt the book to buy. The Michael Checkov technique is absolutely mind blowing, it enables you to harness your true creative self using simple yet powerful techniques. If you are an amateur actor or director with a theatre group who is looking to make the performances go beyond an amateur level this is the book that will enable you to do that. 5 Stars.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2003
THIS BOOK WAS UNFORTUNATELY OUT OF PRINT BUT NOW IS BACK ON THE SHELVES WITH MORE GREAT INFORMATION FOR ACTORS ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL GESTURE. THIS EDITION HAS QUOTES FROM THE HOST OF "INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO", CLINT EASTWOOD, MARYLIN MONROE, JACK NICHOLSON AND MANY GREAT ACTORS. IT CONTAINS THE CRITICAL CHAPTER ON COMPOSITION THAT WAS EXCLUDED FROM HIS OTHER GREAT TEXT "ON THE TECHNIQUE OF ACTING". THIS NEW VERSION OF THE 1953 PUBLICATION ALSO HAS A CHAPTER ON PSYCHOLOGICAL GESTURE THAT WAS NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH. BACKSTAGE WEST EDITOR ROB KENDT REVEIWED THIS BOOK HIGHLY BUT SUGGESTS YOU MAY WANT TO SEEK A COACH TO HELP YOU INTEGRATE THE BRILLIANT IDEAS AFTER YOU FINISH THE READING. TERRIFIC FOR WRITERS AND DIRECTORS TOO.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2014
This book is gold - for musicians, singers, actors, dancers, directors...
It was through director and tutor Joerg Andrees, regarded globally as one of the foremost exponents of the Michael Chekhov Technique that I came across it.
Joerg brought my understanding of Chekhov to another level. For anyone who is interested in pursuing a practical training in the Michael Chekhov technique, I highly recommend his course in Dublin, Ireland.