Happy New Year from the Michael Chekhov School!
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Michael Chekhov School News Dec 2015 / Jan 2016

* Looking back on 2015

At the end of our first year at the Michael Chekhov School we are looking back at what was possible, thanks to the help and support of many people in the community:

The actors who joined us for the school's journey: Camille, Colleen, Kyle, Dorothea, Gabriel, K.D., Peggy, Val, Travis, Gabriela, Danielle, Berda, James
Jessica Cerullo and Joanna Merlin, who both generously joined our school for several sessions and contributed their teaching
* Martin D. Anderson, who shared his expertise and filmed several sessions
* Eddie Marritz, who came up to Hudson for an amazing photo session
* Dave Schulz for the awesome ad in American Theatre Magazine's January 2016 edition
* Bernadette Wintsch-Heinen from Zürich, who participated as an observer in the fall session and shared her reflections in an essay
* Broadway legend and Tony-award-winner Dick Latessa, who joined the school for a conversation about his life's work
* Solaris in Hudson, which has become the home of our school
* and the friends of The Actors' Ensemble
who all helped make this school a reality!


* Imaginations for 2016

In March 2016 we are offering 3 Weekend Immersions as an introduction to the Michael Chekhov School. It is our intention to give actors and theater practitioners an immersive and affordable time and space to intensively explore this unique approach. Participants will be able to stay in a nearby Bed & Breakfast within walking distance from the school. During morning and afternoon sessions we will be working on our feet to follow Michael Chekhov's suggestions as they relate to gesture, image and sensation. Each weekend can be booked separately or as a connected series of three workshops.

Dates are: March 5th/ 6th and March 11th/ 12th and March 18th/ 19th.
Tuition for each weekend is $350 and includes accommodation.
For more information & to apply, visit our website.

In the Summer of 2016, a small group of actors will join the Michael Chekhov School. The summer session is 4 weeks long; and we are excited that for the last week our summer-group will share some of the work during a residency at MICHA's 2016 Summer Workshop & Festival in New London, CT.

In the fall of 2016 our new one-year-program is starting, with sessions in

 September 2016
March 2017
June 2017

We are now accepting applications.

* A view into the Past

The film LINEAGE and LEGACY is telling the story of the development of Michael Chekhov's Acting Technique as experienced by Ted Pugh. In an 18-minute interview with Ragnar he is speaking about Michael Chekhov and Dartington Hall, about Beatrice Straight, about his time teaching at the original Michael Chekhov Studio in NYC and about working with the Dartington Ladies. You can watch the film for free by clicking on the video link "Lineage and Legacy" to the right.
In our November Newsletter we had featured a 12-min video of a conversation with Joanna Merlin about her time with Michael Chekhov. If you missed the video and would like to see it, you can click on the link to the right "Working with Michael Chekhov".

[VIDEO] Click to Play
'Bernadette's Letter'
[VIDEO] Click to Play
'Dick Latessa'
TAE Benefit
[VIDEO] Click to Play
'The Actors' Ensemble'
The Dartington Ladies
[VIDEO] Click to Play
Lineage & Legacy
[VIDEO] Click to Play
Working with M.C.
Photography: Eddie Marritz,
Scott Burrell, Ragnar Freidank

A re-discovered FILM SCENE with MICHAEL CHEKHOV! - watched by Ted and Fern
and filmed and edited by Ragnar. Click on the image to PLAY the VIDEO [4min]. Enjoy!

'Who Is Michael Chekhov In My Life?' - by Ragnar Freidank, originally published 2009 in MICHA's edition 'Critical Issues, Reflections, Dreams':  "Whenever I come to a dead end in my work, when I don't know what to do, I hear a gentle voice in my imagination. This voice doesn't really have words; it's more a sense of someone, a presence of great kindness.
I met Michael Chekhov for the first time through Ted Pugh, whom I met at a Chekhov Conference in Berlin, organized by Jörg Andrees and Jobst Langhans in 1992, and also through Mala Powers, who at the same conference, gave me Chekhov's audiotapes. I don't know who I would be had not the kind presence of this great man found its way into my life. I feel I owe Michael Chekhov a language. And with language a perception: It is through him that I started looking at theater (and life) from the point of view of sensation, qualities, gesture, atmospheres, images. Although in my work now I rarely use the same words Michael Chekhov gave me, the realities of what he is talking about are with me every moment of my life.
Today theater faces a world different from the one Michael Chekhov lived in. The development of imagination and creativity plays a different role for the individual than in his era. I personally think that theater is no longer only the big and glamorous institution (although it is that as well) of Chekhov's time but that it is becoming apparent as a most human medium: Theater can be done anywhere, in any size and context, in front of the smallest group of people. Anywhere there is someone willing to do something and someone interested in watching. The life of the imagination can transform any place into the grandest and most glamorous of worlds. I feel the role of the creative artist today is to hold these spaces open; these creative spaces in which our imagination can live freely and where we can experience our true human power and potential.
As I type these thoughts, I notice I like that my computer has a re-do button because it reassures me that nothing will ever be lost. Unlike in the theater, of course, where essentially nothing can ever be kept. It disappears the moment after it has happened and is recorded only in the memory of the people who shared that moment in time. I recently directed my first film,
'Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn', and I think film is a fantastic medium. I love that we can record and play back and edit out all the things we don't like. But I know that without the imperfection of theater this world would be poorer to me. The spaces into which meaning falls are the imperfect spaces where someone dares to be present in front of other people, whatever the context: a film set, a rehearsal studio, a classroom or the tiniest space with three people in it.
My experience is that when we show up with our presence in this way, we give ourselves the gift of seeing that the world of our imagination is already with us and we have all we need to converse with that world - and let it live on anything we can call a stage. And if in our own imagination we ever hear a voice that is particularly kind to us when we are toiling about, then we might also notice a very assuring and friendly feeling and possibly an ever-so-slight Russian accent…"
Copyright © 2016 Michael Chekhov School
- an initiative of The Actors' Ensemble, Inc.

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Michael Chekhov School
1548 Harlemville Rd
Chatham, NY 12037

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