Chekhov Training and Performance Ireland
“The body of an actor must absorb psychological qualities, must be filled and permeated with them so that they will convert it gradually into a sensitive membrane.”
“Cold analytic, materialistic thinking tends to throttle the urge to the imagination.”
TO THE ACTOR. MICHAEL CHEKHOV
The objective of Chekhov Training and Performance Ireland is twofold; first, to promote the Michael Chekhov Acting technique in Ireland through quality training courses for actors, directors, writers and teaching artists; and secondly the development of performance projects using the Chekhov technique as the bedrock of the rehearsal process
Who was Michael Chekhov?
Michael Chekhov [1891-1955] was one of the most innovative actor/director/teachers of the 20th century. A nephew of the great playwright Anton Chekhov, he acted in the Moscow Arts Theatre with extraordinary success, occasionally coming into conflict with Stanislavski and others that worked there. His journey across Europe and eventually to the United States, where he acted in Hollywood movies [most notably in Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND], taught and influenced a whole number of famous and less famous actors, is one of both frustration and triumph.
And the Technique?
Chekhov’s great legacy is his technique. His concept of psycho-physical exercises, where the character is discovered though images, and physicalisation of the character’s psychological drives, makes acting absolutely thrilling and magical. It expands the creative boundaries for a person not by working directly from ‘real life’ but from the vast palette of the creative imagination. Whilst this might appear at first glance to be somewhat ethereal, it opens the performer in a real and powerful way. The technique reminds us that the theatre is an art.
Max Hafler – resident teacher
Max Hafler is a highly experienced theatre teacher and director. He trained with the Michael Chekhov Association in the U.S., and has been teaching Chekhov for many years. He teaches the technique at NUI Galway and has taught it in many other colleges, including the Lir. One of his main interests is developing the work for directors, and he has directed several productions with the technique as the bedrock of the process. His book, “Teaching Voice” was published by Nick Hern Books for youth leaders and teachers using Voice and Chekhov Technique, in 2016.
Joanna Merlin , president of the Michael Chekhov Association says
“I was a student of Michael Chekhov’s in the last five years of his life. The atmosphere that he created was one of joyfulness, freedom, enlargement, permission and a belief in every actor’s creative individuality. I feel that Max embraces and radiates that spirit of Michael Chekhov fully and intuitively. Max’s understanding and application of this work is vital to the development of the actor’s creative instrument. “
for information: contact 0(0353) 86 330 7325
ALL ACTUAL WORKSHOPS HAVE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COVID 19 LOCKDOWN, BEEN POSTPONED TO A LATER DATE.
In the meantime, we are moving online….
ONLINE TEACHING FOR CHEKHOV TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE IRELAND
One to One sessions- Let It Begin. (1)
If your connection to the Chekhov technique is fairly new then these 4 / 60 minute sessions will act as something for your understanding and practise. Perhaps you want to reconnect with the work after an absence. Above all we have to remember that Chekhov Technique is an experiential practise so much of our time together will be working on Spy back or Flyback, that is looking back on the experiences you have had when practicing the technique, though we will do SOME exercises in our face to face time together. Clearly we will be restricted somewhat but for now that has to be ok.
You will need to have learned an 8-10 line speech from a play you know well. I would prefer it not to be from a movie.
Session One: Qualities of movement and an introduction to Gesture
Session Two: Working with Imagination
Session Three: Working with Centres
Session Four: Psychological Gesture.
please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to register and book.
One to One sessions- Let It Begin. (2) Working with Character (1)
In this block of four weeks, the student will be introduced to the uses of Imaginary Centres, Imaginary Body and Personal Atmosphere working with a specific play in four one hour sessions.
One to One Sessions – Let it Begin (3) Working with Character (3
Working with Character Journeys, Personal Atmosphere and Archetypes.
SPRING GROUP COURSES EARLY 2021
PRINCIPLES IMAGINATION, BODY, ENSEMBLE 10th Feb – 3rdMarch 4 sessions 3 – 4.30
1 90 minute session per week for four weeks will focus specifically on fundamental elements of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique focussing on exercises to explore the spectacular vista of the Imagination and Body! How can it help us create as actors, directors and artists?
This workshop is for people new to the work or those wanting to reconnect with it. We will work on myth tba. No experience of the Chekhov technique is necessary. Courage to use your imagination and to play is essential.
60 waged/ 45 low waged/35 unemployed.
Principles : ARTIST: WORKING TO CREATE WITH THE HIGHER EGO. 12th March – 2nd April 4 Sessions per week.4.00 – 5.30
Michael Chekhov’s concern with the Higher Ego allows for us as performers to acknowledge the workings of the actor as Artist and to acknowledge that when we practise our art a holistic alchemy is being expressed and explored. These four sessions allow us to experience the Higher Ego as something palpable and real, that can help us in the creative process. It allows us to be the character and the artist at the same time. It allows us to be inspired.
60 waged/ 45 low waged/35 unemployed.
What is Style? SATURDAY JANUARY 9th 10.30 – 4.30
When asked this question, John Gielgud reportedly said, “Style is the play I am in.” So often style is considered a superficial polish which pollutes a sense of truth and holds the play in some kind of thick preservative, making it impervious to it touching our hearts or having any relevance to our modern situation. Michael Chekhov encourages us to challenge this idea.
Through practical workshop, Declan, Max and the group will explore what style might be and how we can use it. Is it the genre, the atmosphere of a play, the social and political makeup of the time, the psychological obsessions of the playwright or the director or a combination of all of these influences?
Is there such a thing as a non style.?
A fun full day exploration with adequate rests!
45 employed/ 35 low waged/ 30 unemployed
FREQUENT GUEST TUTOR – DECLAN DROHAN
Declan Drohan ( ChekovLab Ireland) M.A H.Dip.Ad.Ed. lectures on Performing Arts Hons Degree Programme at IT Sligo. Former Course Leader of Acting Programme at Conservatory of Music and Drama DIT Rathmines, Declan trained with Gaiety School Of Acting and Michael Chekov Europe. Recent acting work includes award winning short films ‘ The Date ‘ and Mr L’s Limbo. He is a member of the popular Dark Leaves Theatre Co vintage radio company. His directing credits include Cathleen Ni Houlihan at Lisadell House and the Hawkswell Sligo, and Frank Pig Says Hello and Beneath the Bone Moon at the Dublin Theatre Festival.
INVITING THE CHARACTER THROUGH CHEKHOV TECHNIQUE.
January 6th – 29th 8 sessions Wednesday 4.30 – 6.30 Friday 4.30 – 6.30
Working with Anton Chekhov’s THE THREE SISTERS, participants will work towards creating scenes from this play having spent time exploring and creating through IMAGINATION, CENTRE AND BODY WORK, elements of the Michael Chekhov technique. We will not work in isolation but to some extent as if the play was being directed with the group. There will be two sessions per week through the month of January to give a strong sense of concentration on the work. We will work also with General Atmosphere
This module is for people with some Chekhov experience interested in not just awakening their Chekhov skills but also addressing as seriously as we can in the time that we have issues of application of the work.
120€ Waged / 100 low wage/part time / 80 not doing paid work
Working from 6th January – 29th. January
PAST COURSES AUTUMN 2019
OCTOBER 18 -20
JUST MY IMAGINATION.
Tutor: Max Hafler
INCORPORATING IMAGES TO CONNECT TO CHARACTERS, DRIVES AND FEELING.
Using images as spurs for psychological experiences or ways of being for the character is a brilliant way to find something deep, quirky and genuine in your work. In order this does not become some kind of actor’s trick, we need to explore the process of training our actor’s mind to concentrate, not in the way we learn in school or college, but in a more holistic and open way. Chekhov says we have to fall in love with images, to invite them in, in order to find the full power of how images can enrich our performances in ways that simply ‘identifying with the character’ can not. In this weekend we will be exploring this use of using imagery, working with scenes and speeches from Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information.
GOOD VERSUS EVIL: PLAYING KING LEAR.
A WEEKEND LOOKING AT THE GREATEST POLARITY OF ALL.
This weekend we are going to look at the polarities of Good and Evil and how they affect how we play a character. Of course we can say “the audience have to make up their own minds” but to my mind, and to the mind of Michael Chekhov this is perhaps something of an abrogation of responsibility. As artists we need to have a view and the audience does not need to agree with us. It need not be a simplistic view of heroes and villains; it can be riven with complexity and you can feel these energies moving and working inside you as you inhabit your role. Chekhov uses King Lear to discuss his rules of composition, one of his most important contributions to theatre art and this is the play we will focus in for the weekend. Chekhov was not asking the actor/artist to moralise or produce stereotypical performance but that we as artists have to consider this polarity of good and evil when we are working on the character, especially when working on a play like Lear. We might say that Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, Oswald and Edmund are on the side of evil, but how do they express it and what do they do and are there any moments in their stage lives where we see the opposite polarity tugging them in a different direction creating a more nuanced playing? How does this polarity affect them, tear them apart? There are a host of possibilities.
email email@example.com to reserve your place
The Summer School 2019 August 15-18th.
BLOOD ON IRON
APPLYING MICHAEL CHEKHOV TECHNIQUE TO PERFORMANCE – BUCHNERS WOYZECK
Chekhov technique is not just for those inspired yet elusive moments. Working on one of the most influential plays of the 20th Century, a raw look at the effects of poverty, alienation and madness, this four-day course run by Max Hafler and guest tutor Declan Drohan, uses the Michael Chekhov technique to open up the play and prepare scenes from it. Before the workshop we will let participants know what Chekhov elements we will be principally exploring so they can prepare for the workshop. This workshop is for actors, directors and students.
Tutors : Max Hafler with Guest Tutor Declan Drohan
For this workshop I am delighted to have as guest tutor Declan Drohan working with me to create this workshop
The cost is 200€ for four days. (training only)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to book your place
All courses bar the summer school cost 90€ . They run
Friday 7 -9.30 pm
Saturday 10-5 pm
Sunday 10-4 pm.
Enter An Actor – the Architecture of Solo Performance (Jan 25th-27th)
Solo work requires a particular focus and an acknowledgement that in the end you are not alone at all – your partners are the audience and the resonating space where you perform. As a character you are coming from another world to meet Them. At the same time, you as the actor are making a compact with the audience. This compact is in a way at its strongest in solo performance as you fill the stage as someone else, and people the imagination with the other characters in their world – some of whom you might actually play for us, the audience.
Appearing in solo work means no one else is coming on. You are on your own….in a way.
Whether you are appearing in a solo play, working on a play with big monologues, or working on an audition speech where in a sense you have to direct the whole play imaginatively in order to give your piece focus and a sense of the whole, you need to prepare yourself and your energies in a particular way.
This workshop looks, through the exercises of Michael Chekhov Technique at the architecture of performance, the shape of a piece, variety, tempo, silence and radiating receiving with our partner, the audience.
For this workshop I am delighted to have as guest tutor Declan Drohan working with me to create this workshop
The Epic Voice (Feb 15-17)
Using atmosphere and treating text like a piece of music we will set about exploring our voices on an epic piece of text to find new and authentic ways of speaking. The character does not need to have our voice. It is not just a question of having an accent.
Mixing regular voice work with focussed experimental Chekhov work, using many of the exercises Max developed in his book Teaching Voice, what we discover will be of use for scripted and devised work. Voice is one of the principal ways we radiate the passion of the character and their voice is not necessarily ours. We must develop and explore it.
Character Centre and Imaginary Body (March 29th-31st)
We will be Working with two Chekhov elements together to create character which put the imagination in the spotlight. If the Imaginary body of the character is the vehicle, the character centre is the engine. For this workshop we will be working with a well known scripted play.
Each weekend has 15 hours training for 90 euro. If you book for two workshops in advance you can have them for 80 each. email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.
Actors are Magicians ! (May 17- 19)
This workshop, beginning on Friday evening and finishing on Sunday at 5pm will focus specifically on fundamental elements of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique focussing on exercises to explore the spectacular vista of the Imagination through the body! How can it help us create as actors, directors and artists?
We will work with a myth, fairy tale or short story. No experience of the Chekhov technique is necessary but some performance experience is required.
90€ for the weekend email email@example.com
Working with Archetypes – Midsummer Night’s Dream! June 21-23.
For the ‘weekend that’s in it’ , as we say in Ireland, we are going to explore how to enhance our understanding of character through the exploration of archetype using A Midsummer Night’s Dream.. This element of Chekhov technique deepens our understanding, allows us to explore roles, energies and positions in life we feel are beyond our experience; Fairy, Queen, King, Clown, Fool, Master, Servant, Coward, Thief.
We will also be looking at Archetypal atmospheres to see how they too can deepen our understanding and playing of the text.