Staging the spectator in Michael Chekhov’s acting theory

Authored by: Yana Meerzon

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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Michael Chekhov’s spiritual thinking and the circumstances of his life as an exilic theatre actor stimulated his vision of a Theatre of the Future. This would originate in an international language of theatrical communication and be comprehensible for audiences of any cultural or linguistic background. Chekhov created his own theory of actor-spectator interactivity, with the spectator as the ultimate addressee and point of departure of the stage/audience communicative system. He wanted the spectator to experience affect, the “thrill of being in the presence of actors who are radiantly experiencing the present moment” (Bogart 2010: xii), as the ultimate outcome of a theatrical encounter. This encounter, Chekhov believed, should require no cultural translation: the spectator’s emotional engagement would result not only from the actor’s routine of inspired acting and engaged imagination, but also from the theatre maker’s artistic intention to transmit theatrical energy and hence stimulate the audience’s emotions.

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