“Prying behind the curtain(s) of the creative process”

Eugenio Barba’s principles and Michael Chekhov’s technique 1

Authored by: Ian Watson

The Routledge Companion to Michael Chekhov

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415710183
eBook ISBN: 9781315716398
Adobe ISBN: 9781317506867

10.4324/9781315716398.ch15

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Abstract

Although their theatres are based upon very different premises, both Michael Chekhov and Eugenio Barba embrace performer-centered theatres, in which the actor has discarded the role of skilled craftsman interpreting the genius of others for the mantle of creative artist. Chekhov’s theatre is driven by a technique in which the actor’s imagination is shaped by an author’s script and a learned process that transforms the imagined into embodied action. Barba’s theatre, on the other hand, is rooted in the devised and physical. In his theatre, actors move from a stock of improvised études shaped by transcultural principles of physical action and a subtext of personal associations to a collective mise en scène in which the somatic takes precedence over the semiotic.

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