Michael Chekhov in Brazil
The possible paths leading someone to want to become an actor are infinite, but from the outset we all form some sort of dialogue which one might call a question: "how can I work, create today?" In other words, we start seeking forms of working. In Brazil, recent generations of actors coming to the stage, in looking for techniques which might help answer that question had at their disposal two main strands of teaching: one which we frequently term "Stanislavsky", but which often derives more from the practices developed by Lee Strasberg in New York from the 1950's; and physical theatre inspired by the ideas of Grotowski and his various followers.
Although known to many Brazilian actors through his book To the Actor (not available in Portuguese translation until 1986), during the half century after his death (in 1955) the Michael Chekhov technique wasn't explored in Brazil with any depth or scope. In the first chapters of the book, Chekhov says that the main requirements for an actor are: extreme sensibility of body to the psychological creative impulses; richness of the psychology itself; and complete obedience of both body and psychology to the actor.
For actors whose psychologies have grown weary recalling events from the past and personal experiences in order to inject something to their moment on stage, or whose bodies ache from the intensity and repetition of exhaustive movements to reach a desired state, the Michael Chekhov technique appears like a refreshing and playful breeze, without losing for an instant the efficiency of a rapid response and allowing the artist clarity in the creative moment.
As well as being a technique which offers the actor inspiration in the quest for a character, scene, play, the practice sets out a complete vision of the artistic life. Many actors who come into contact with their art through this vision have a sense that they've found a home, some firm ground for their creative individuality,
Until 2010 Brazilian actors interested in applying themselves seriously to studying Michael Chekhov had to spend time in the USA, Europe or Russia. Through our workshops and other initiatives, hundreds of actors - not only from Brazil, but from Chile, Argentina, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Portugal - have already come into contact with the Michael Chekhov technique, and each day more and more actors and directors - many sensing a "murmer of disappointment" in their artistic world - come into contact with the Michael Chekhov "family" and, who knows, (re)discover the intangible in their own work.
Michael Chekhov Brasil currently organizes the only activities permanently and exclusively devoted to exploring and teaching the technique in Latin America. Since 2012 we have been offering the Michael Chekhov Training, a wide-ranging two-month programme, the first and only one of its kind in the region. In January 2013 we held the first workshop aimed particularly at teachers and directors of psycho-physical acting (see full list of Workshops).