As part of her ongoing training for her Master Classes, Penny likes to take the summer of July & August to raise the bar...

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As part of her ongoing training for her Master Classes, Penny likes to take the summer of July & August to raise the bar. She concentrates on techniques that will add to and enhance the actor’s tool box and raise their work to the next level. For the month of July the Master Class will be working on exercises of Actor/Master Teacher, Michael Chekhov. His techniques of using the physical body to enhance and add nuance to the emotional life of a character are a perfect example of how Stanislavski’s emotional techniques can be augmented by adding in Chekhov techniques, and how Chekhov’s techniques are enriched by Stanislavski’s techniques. No technique stands alone. The techniques handed down to us by the great masters, work best when they are used together. As Penny says in her book ACTING LIONS, “You need it all”! Last summer, Penny introduced the first nine of Chekhov’s Exercises, encompassing the actor’s Body and Psychology. In July, we will add Scene work applying the Chekhov exercises, so that the actors can see their effectiveness used with written material. These scenes will be filmed using the actor’s own SD cards, so the actors will have a record of the result of their work. Here is are some excerpts from Michael Chekhov’s To the Actor to help you understand the concepts of the work and exercises we will be doing in class during July: Our bodies can be either our best friends or worst enemies. It is a known fact that the human body and psychology influence each other and are in constant interplay. There are certain actors who can feel their roles deeply, but who cannot express or convey these riches within themselves to an audience. Those wonderful thoughts and emotions are somehow chained inside their undeveloped bodies. Every actor suffers from some of his body's resistance, but an actor must undergo a special kind of training in development. The body of an actor must absorb psychological qualities, be filled and permeated with them, to be gradually converted into a sensitive membrane. This membrane becomes a kind of receiver and conveyor of the subtlest images, feelings, emotions and will impulses. The actor's body can be of optimum value to him only when motivated by an unceasing flow of artistic impulses; only then can it be more refined, flexible, expressive and, most vital of all, sensitive and responsive to the subtleties which constitute the creative artist's inner life. Therefore, for an actor's development, special psychophysical exercises must be found and applied. The actor who would become master of himself and his craft will banish the element of "accident" from his profession and create a firm ground for his talent. Only an indisputable command of his body and psychology will give him the necessary self-confidence, freedom and harmony for his creative activity.