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Extra resources for Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral
Etc. 3 ENERGY: THE LIFE-BODY The life-body is an expression I encountered some years ago. Michael Chekhov did not use this term in his writing, or in his teaching. I have adopted it as a way to describe the inner energy that we play with while practising the technique. As a teacher I have come to use this term, because I believe it describes succinctly and perfectly what this elusive and intangible force is. It is necessary to call it something, because I refer to it all the time. We could also call it the energetic body, but I prefer to call it the life-body because it gives us a certain kind of picture.
It is the secret of the artist who always knows ‘how’ without any explanation, any proof, any analysis or psychological abilities. (Michael Chekhov: Lessons for the Professional Actor) THE TOOLS 1 TRANSLATING THE INNER EVENT TO AN OUTER EXPRESSION For an actor to have an effect on the audience, this actor must be alive; a dead actor has absolutely no effect. What makes an actor alive? The first part of being alive is to really be alive: to have life within. If one were to compare a living body to a dead body, one would instantly become aware of one thing; the living body is animated.
He began each class with the exercise of staccato/legato. It was of singular importance to him. I have THE TOOLS been doing this exercise for 26 years and it is still as fulfilling as it was when I was a student. I have come to believe that the whole Chekhov technique is in this one exercise. It is an exercise that can be done in many ways, and with different focuses. The basic exercise is as follows: Stand in present time. Know that you will move in the six directions of right, left, up, down, forwards and backwards.