Saturday, December 3, 2011

Spy Back

Chekhov emphasizes that as actors in rehearsal and performance, when we are properly concentrated we are one with our images and intentions. We are accessing full creativity. We are present enough to allow this flow of creativity to be realized and to get out of our own way.

We want to be led by our imagination not by our intellect. This is not necessarily easy since our intellect is used to being in control, in charge of our lives. But Chekhov said the intellect is an enemy to the artist - he called it the "little intellect." This is the critic, the judge, the divisive one that lives in us. While it can be useful in many areas of our life, it works against us when we are working in the creative state.

So, we can analyze it later. When we have finished a particular rehearsal or exercise, then we can take the time to evaluate what was working and how it was working in us. This is the time to put the little intellect to work, and then it is contributing to the creative process in its proper way. Chekhov called this spying back.

I have mentioned this term in the couple lessons I have led, but here I would like to post the questions he recommends you ask yourself after every exercise or rehearsal. The answers are meant to be shared with one another as we all grow and learn together in the technique. Here they are:

~ What was I concentrated on?
~ What does this movement mean to me?
~ What was my experience of this?
~ Where do I feel/experience a connection to this?
~ Is this something I recognize or know?
~ Can I do it again?
~ Where/How can I use it?


George said...

Great recap of this practice in the Chekhov technique. Like many of our other drills as a company, it is so helpful to articulate what part of the awareness is operative at each moment of the creative process. Otherwise we throw out entire parts of our instrument simply because they are not helpful at one moment or the next. Defining the moments like this helps us stay open to the particular moment and challenges us to recognize HOW we can best be present in different moments of our process, while at the same time acknowledging that there is a different but proper "fit" from one moment to the next. To move from one aspect of craft to the next as nimbly as possible is part of the reason we describe exercises according to their appropriate modality. (Rehearsal mode, Skills Mode, Exploration Mode, Performance Mode.)
This kind of attention in the "spy back" is very similar to the skills we develop in the awareness exercises that we did in training last year. Perhaps it's time to fold them back in as a good compliment to the Chekhov work.

Anonymous said...

Great final training everyone and awesome job by George and Taylor! I feel the company is gaining momentum and that feeling ease from the physical training, to Checkov to Voice.

I wanted to encourage everyone when we return to have that same sense when we return to the Robert Taylor work.

Post your thoughts to the blogginess :-)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!