To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting

To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting

To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting

To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting


St. James Theatre. New York, July 23, 1952

Dear Mr. Chekhov, my dear Professor:

I believe the last time I had a chance to talk to you was close to ten years ago. I don't believe I ever told you, during the year or so that I had the privilege of working with you, the whole story of my pursuit of your theory of the art of acting.

It started in the late twenties when I saw you in a repertory of plays that you did in Paris: Inspector General, Eric the Fourteenth, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, etc. I came out with the deep conviction that through you and through you only I could find what I was working for--a concrete and tangible way to reach a mastery of the elusive thing that one calls the technique of acting.

This pursuit continued through the years and most of the time seemed unattainable. I tried to join your group when you first started the Chekhov Theater at Dartington Hall in England. Then I heard that you had moved to America with most of your group to continue your work in Connecticut, and it took me several years through all the world events to finally come to America with the sole purpose of at last working with you.

Now, holding the manuscript of To the Actor in my hands I have achieved my complete goal. In To the Actor I find the thing I was looking for and trying to find for myself; exactly what I have tried to apply to my work since the brief period when I had the privilege of working with you. For though visiting many schools and many very famous and very creative actors, directors and teachers I never found anything that taught one the most important part of the technique of acting. They knew well how to teach diction. They knew well how to teach you to pick up cues, but mostly they made you search for the vital and most important . . .

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