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The Path of a Character

Michael Chekhov’s Inspired Acting and Theatre Semiotics

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Yana Meerzon

Nephew of Anton Chekhov and a disciple of Konstantin Stanislavskii, Russian émigré actor Michael Chekhov (1891-1955) created one of the most challenging and inspiring acting theories of the 20 th century. This book is a reinterpretation of Chekhov’s theory both in the context of the cultural and political milieu of his time and in the light of theatre semiotics: from Prague Structuralism to French Poststructuralism and contemporary performance theory. This work presents Chekhov’s understanding of the actor’s stage product – stage mask – as a psychological, psychophysical and cultural construct engaged with the mysteries of the actor/character or, what Mikhail Bakhtin describes as the author/hero, dialectical relationships. It offers new horizons in interdisciplinary and intercultural visions on theatre acting described by Chekhov as a most liberating and cathartic process.
Contents: Stage Figure versus Stage Mask – Semiotics of Actor’s Body: Chekhov’s Notion of Atmosphere and Creating Space in Theatre – Semiotics of Actor’s Voice: Chekhov on Language, Rhythm and Gesture in Theatre Performance – Michael Chekhov Creating the Hamlet Stage Figure – Michael Chekhov Creating a Film Figure.