The dynamics of Psychological Gestures

Authored by: John Lutterbie

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


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I got up to write … and all that I had imagined appeared beneath my brush.

(Lei Chien-Fu qtd in Ingold 2007: 133)

The new images seem to develop and transform themselves independent of our control or wishes.

(Chekhov 1991: 59)
The Psychological Gesture (PG) is central to the acting theory of Michael Chekhov. That it is a powerful tool in the development of action and character is undeniable. Combining the force of physical movement with the imaging of psychological states, actors are able to develop repeatable scores that communicate the action with clarity and intensity. The growing number of people taking courses and workshops under the auspices of the Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA) is a strong indication of the relevance of Chekhov’s theories to current actor training. While many believe that the success of actors trained in the system, such as Geoffrey Rush, is sufficient proof of Chekhov’s theory, placing the PG in the frame of cognitive science has the potential for providing a deeper understanding of how his theory works in practice.

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