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Michael Chekhov's 'Theater of the Future' -- what does it have to do with you?

Creating a thriving Chekhov performance ensemble/company

Rebecca RICH - 14 July 2012

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Title of Session: Creating a MICHA Professional Performance Ensemble
Convener: Rebecca Rich
List of Participants: Rebecca Rich, Liz Shipman, Marcina Zaccaria, Christine Gilreath, Karine Scialom, Peter Tedeschi, Janice Orlander, Linda Klebbinger, Thais (from Brazil)

Discussion/Notes


To create a MICHA (Chekhov) Company Ensemble – a place to put the practices/work from the workshops into performance:

Do I have a vision of what this would look like?

Rebecca had the dream vision to look at strong regional theaters to see what they look like. Could it look like the Guthrie? Could a Chekhov company be commissioned to do new work? Like a theater company in Philadelphia (i.e. Pig Iron), the company could devise and re-envision work for the future.

What if there were a place to put the artists? What ideas do you have that could make this happen?

Peter thought that within a year from now, a few people find a way to get together to create a piece, even only 20 minutes, and propose it as an evening activity for MICHA. To be a fully staged production. Maybe a deadline could be set for an evening workshop? When trying to create an ensemble, start slowly and create the ensemble by working well together.

Rebecca would love to have more happen out of the ensemble. How do we get that to happen.

Marcina thought that perhaps ensemble would be created by starting online and having a possibility of creating the work with ideas or via skype before going into rehearsal space.

Peter thought that a deadline would be the best thing to consider before creating an ensemble.

To ask many to come from California, Boston, or other areas can be challenging. How do we deal with that?

Liz suggested: with the matrix, there was a spearhead. The director put together the ensemble script piece. People could come from anywhere, Sweden, Columbia, and we were able to meet together. It cost no money because one of the members of the group got the space, and actors were able to fun their own travel.


The Summer and Christmas time were primary moments for finding time. It would be very feasible to find a way to make that to happen.

Having worked in Croatia with people from Croatia, Peter thought that Suzanna Nikolaivich and other MICHA people, should have met together and having a sense of forum. Sagrab Youth for New Works. (young/new works not children’s theatre)

Often with small theater companies, actors create a piece together, and charge suggested donation and are able to break even. With time, energy, and resources, perhaps look for a fiscal umbrella towards Fractured Atlas and The Field. The garment district theater company, Janice’s company, was able to register with ART/ NY, in terms of having a small theater company. Board members, minutes have to be presented at the end of the year. They work together and put up work.

Goal/deadline is important. Thought of “business plan.”

MICHA as an educational organization, they would be very supportive of production – but likely not be the producers. The philosophy/mission of MICHA is carrying on the work of Michael Chekhov in a training capacity, as opposed to production. A MICHA committee might be able to see it, and decide what to produce. Perhaps, an approval process might make sense?

When you are making the work; who is the audience? Are you making work for other actors? Rebecca suggested creating/producing work to put the Chekhov practice into more tangible/visible performance to inspire even more practice. At MICHA, the work is often over when it’s over. The “playing” is left hanging; perhaps next year (or in future), it might be interesting to see what happens if there’s some practice with an an eventual “result” in mind.

What is the willingness to grow slowly? What is the willingness to continue the work w/ a group of actors/teachers/directors of Chekhov technique before/after workshops? Creation of a company – a visible performance company. Suggestion of either NYC or Philly (Janice, Rebecca) to create a series of days and times to work together. Find a core group of run it/be involved.

Dawn Arnold and others have their own theater company separate from MICHA.
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