Russian Emigre Actor in the United States: Michael Chexov as Teacher and Director in New York and Los Angeles

Liisa Byckling, University of Helsinki

Michael Chexov (1891-1955), actor of the Moscow Art Theatre, head of the Second MAT. Development of Chexov's method of acting under European influences in his Moscow studio and after he emigrated in 1928.

The Chexov Studio in Dartington Hall, England. Exploring the ways to creativity through imagination, atmosphere, psychological gesture etc.

The Studio moved to the United States in 1939 and reopened in Ridgefield, Conn. The Chexov Theatre opened on Broadway with an adaptation of Dostoevskij's The Possessed. Then the group of young American actors faced the realities of provincial audiences: the Chexov Theatre toured fifteen states with performances based on Dickens, Shakespeare and plays for children.

In 1943 Chexov moved to Hollywood, where he acted in ten films. He started training professional actors, gave lectures and classes in Los Angeles (1949-55). In the U.S. he published two books: O texnike aktera (1946) and To the Actor (1953).

Conclusion: main points of the Chexov method (as compared to Stanislavskij's system). His studio as an utopian experiment to create an actor as a new personality for the theatre of the future. Influence of Eastern art on Chexov's thinking. From "father to grandsons" - the Chexov workshops today.