- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Starlight Acting Books (2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 097990630X
- ISBN-13: 978-0979906305
- Package Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,122,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Balancing Act: The Development of Energize! A Holistic Approach to Acting Paperback – 2008
Going beyond where Michael Chekhov left off, this book presents acting as a mind, body and spirit practice and actors as emotional athletes, spiritual stuntmen and stuntwomen exposed to a constant roller coaster of emotions. Emmanuelle Chaulet, international film actress and artists coach, develops her own acting technique ENERGIZE™ using discoveries from holistic and energy healing modalities and breaking new ground in the performing arts field. Answering an urgent —yet never addressed— need, this book offers invaluable tools to balance life and acting, heal post-performance stress disorder and performance anxiety. You’ll find cutting edge information about recovering your Highest Creative Self, the essence of your character, and true emotional balance. Foreword is written by Lisa Dalton, co-founder National Michael Chekhov Association.
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When i decided to become an actor, i wanted to explore this craft with the same approach that we can find in martial arts or a spiritual journey. I know many actors who are struggling in their daily life. We are very sensitive and the exercices that we have to do to be more open and vulnerable can often lead us to some kind of chaos. We have a lot of insecurities that come from our lifestyle and from our psychology. We dig into our subconscious and sometimes we have big troubles to come out.
A Balancing act is a great book for actors who want to find more balance in their art and life. It explains the energy system of every human being with clarity and it shows how every actor can find balance through simples exercices that are meant to support their craft.
It is a revolutionnary book that can save many lives.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg! If you're on the lookout for a new acting system, read this book.
The book is essentially divided into four sections. First, there is a brief autobiographical section, focusing on Chaulet's life as a young actress in France and as a student at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City. Here she describes her problems with the techniques she was studying, and how she came to polarity therapy as a way to deal with the imbalances these techniques had left in her life. In the next section she describes in detail the energy systems working within the body, and how they affect one's emotions and daily life. She illustrates how important it is to clear the energy system to create room for positive artistic energy, and provides many exercises on how to do this. In the next few chapters she describes how to use her system in combination with different acting techniques, and these chapters make up the bulk of the book. Using a vocabulary that will be familiar to most actors, she describes many exercises in their pure form, and then adjusts them to her system. She starts with the "outside-in" and "inside-out" approaches to finding characters; then discusses the importance of movement to finding characters and objectives; moves on to using her system to clear actors' blocks such as stage fright and expectations; and finally has a whole chapter dedicated to playing real-life characters. The last section of the book is about letting go of characters after the run of a show and finding balance in one's day to day life.
Structurally, the book is simple and comprehensive. It is broken up into chapters which are further divided into many small sections, though there is no division between sections and subsections. This can be somewhat confusing. For example, exercises on a particular technique seem to hold the same weight as the description of the technique itself, where there should be some distinction. But other than that, I found the book easy to follow. Chaulet cites diagrams and illustrations when discussing abstract energy systems, making it easy to cross reference her descriptions of colors, lights, images and energy flows with a tangible image. She includes appendices with step by step instructions of the long and short form of the exercises she discusses, lists of action verbs, and various resources for different forms of energy therapy, wellness centers, and acting schools that use energy work. For a book that begins with an apology to the reader for "stylistic peculiarities that will surprise an American reader," I was in fact surprised at the clarity with which the Energize! technique was presented.
Whether or not the idea of energy and chakras resonates with you, this book presents effective acting tools. Her language is clear and precise, and the vocabulary she uses will be familiar to most actors. Many of the exercises that I learned in grad school and found very effective are presented here in new ways, and described clearly in step by step form. Furthermore, her explanations of the chakras and energy systems are tangible and never come off as ephemeral or wishy-washy. I found her take on some Strasberg and Chekhov exercises fresh and exciting, and some of her original exercises strike me as very useful. She seems to have found healthy and innovative ways of approaching a technique that can be emotionally draining and sometimes harmful. And although some background in energy and visualization work would help to understand some of the theories she explores, she writes simply and elegantly, and any actor with an interest in polarity therapy and the energetic system would find this book very interesting and useful.
Chaulet guides the reader through a thorough and detailed explanation of the energetic system and its tremendous role as the powerhouse of the actor. In addition to this complete guide to the energetic system are wonderful stories of her own experiences as a working stage and film actress, and as a mother, daughter and wife. Chaulet takes on the role of the gentle and reassuring teacher in this book, encouraging us to clean up the energy we put out and filter the energy we take in, so that we can create a free-flowing connection with the world that is strong, healthy, and sustainable.
A quick and refreshing read, this book vibrates with the passion and care that Chaulet encourages us to create from our own energetic centers. It was over before I was ready to let go!