Monday, January 26, 2009

KCACTF Region 1 Workshop January 31

1:00-3:00 p.m.
Workshop at KCACTF with Emmanuelle Chaulet
(room Hammerstein-Four Point Sheraton hotel, Leominster MA)
FREE for conference participants.

Post-Performance Blues and Pre-Performance Jitters:
A Balancing Act

Learn how to find emotional balance and true closure after the end of a show. This workshop will assist participants to learn how to keep the character’s strength, protect integrity when playing negative personalities, say goodbye to a character, re-balance the inner self and keep creative balance and energy throughout the roller coaster of a performing artist’s life.
Emmanuelle Chaulet will lead an introductory workshop based on her book A BALANCING ACT.

Photo Jean-Pierre Rousset

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama's inaugural speech calls for a "Sense of Responsibility"

Here is what A BALANCING ACT calls for actors' sense of responsibility: (page 228)

A Responsibility To The World
© Emmanuelle Chaulet 2008

"From ancient times on, actors have been the ones to give humanity the ability to see, feel, and realize their human condition.
It is now a responsibility for actors to go back to the spiritual aspect of their work. I am talking about the development of a mindset, which will share in the engagement of taking the entire human race toward evolution.

Actors are conduits, channels of energies that go beyond their immediate understanding. They are pure servants to the powerful forces of literature, imagination, and creation. They are like the priests and priestesses of the ancient temples serving the altars of spiritual life for mankind. It is so important that they reconnect with this responsibility right now, because they do not realize how huge their impact on society is. Almost every soul on the planet watches television nowadays, and an enormous percentage of what people watch consists of movies. Movies have become the new religion. People desert churches on Sundays, but faithfully turn on the tube every night to see what’s on and to try to forget the misery of their little lives in front of stories that either show them a better one, or exorcise their deepest fears.

Actors are no longer — and they have never been — insignificant artists that just entertain. They are showing to the entire world ideas, examples, and thought patterns that will fashion the future of humanity. Better than priests, politicians or philosophers, they carry the huge weight of shaping a new society, the one that will make or break world peace. It is crucial that they realize the importance of their role. Windows on humanity and teachers, actors show what the depth of a human soul can hold, and teach what one should or should not do, what kind of consequences decisions can lead to. They enable humans to visualize themselves in a mirror. They permit regular folks to see what is outmoded in their lives. They make people think about, reflect on, and question their condi- tions. They show new and better ways to do things. They denounce
behaviors that are destructive and negative by performing plays on human rights and violence. They lead the way to behaviors that create a better world, with stories showing exemplary courage or compassion. They can teach us about our environment, our history, our connection to the earth and the cosmos. They can lead us to more tolerance and understanding of our differences by showing us other cultures, other religions, other races. They can warn us of dangers that threaten the rest of humanity. They also enact for the rest of us a general catharsis of our deepest wounds, fears, desires and dark sides. Through their intense performances we transcend what we dare not do, or wish we should have done, in real life.

Actors are like spirit guides as they can, through a film or a play, teach us what we have to learn to move ahead in our evolution. Yet, in order to achieve all of this, they must choose the correct
scripts, the ones that will hold insight and positively influence the audience. "

You can read the whole article in A BALANCING ACT.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Daniel Day Lewis on creating and letting go of a role

Posted by the_independens

Full article on Arts and Entertainment

by Chris Sullivan
Excerpt here:

"This preparation, for which Day-Lewis is now notorious, has been the cause of much heated discussion – and some public concern. He crudely tattooed his hands and trained as a real fighter, twice a day, seven days a week, for nearly three years, for The Boxer (1997). His trainer – the former world champion Barry McGuigan, no less – remarked that he could have turned professional.

For In The Name of the Father (1993), he slept in an abandoned jail and ate only prison rations. For The Crucible (1996), he lived in the film set's replica village without electricity or running water and built his character's house with 17th-century tools.

But it was his method work as Bill the Butcher in Scorsese's Gangs of New York (2002) that attracted most attention. He trained as a butcher, caught pneumonia while on set (having refused to change his threadbare coat for a warmer one because it hadn't existed in the 19th century), and wandered about Rome (where Gangs was filmed) in character, fighting strangers. "I had to do my preparation," he says with a grin. "And I will admit that I went mad, totally mad. I remembered the days of fighting on the Millwall terraces and they stood me in good stead for Bill the Butcher. He was a bit of a punk, a marvellous character and a joy to be – but not so good for my physical or mental health."

Day-Lewis plays down most of the rumours about his working methods, and is clearly sick to death of hearing them. "For me, it seems obvious, as that is what I do," he stresses, sounding baffled. "And I think, 'Well, if people think it's odd, then what can I do?'"

One soon realises that it is Day-Lewis's quest for perfection that allows him to take on these different roles, these lives, and (apart from his family) that is what he lives for. "You go to these great lengths to imagine another world and time and imagine a man, like Plainview, living in those times – and having spent your imagination on that, it seems more fun to live there all the time than jumping in and out," he says. "That is the playground you've created, so why not stay there and play? It gets rid of that notion of playing between times, which often people talk about – waiting for the next shot. I don't buy that. Whatever you can do to give yourself a sense of continuity can only add to the work.

"I have always been intrigued by these lives I have never experienced. And I love the pure pleasure of doing the work, no matter if that work involves some kind of discomfort – even though I don't see it as that, one just deals with the day-to-day challenges of the character. I do it out of curiosity and I enjoy it. But the way people would have it, it is like a game of self-chastisement and it has never been that way for me – it's all just a big, funny game."

For Michael Mann's The Last of the Mohicans (1992), the actor was able to prepare for the role of James Fenimore Cooper's 18th-century hero Hawkeye by living off the land for six months, learning how to hunt, fish and skin animals. But where did this jovial, happily married family man find the seething ferocity of Plainview?

"Well, we all have murderous thoughts throughout the day, if not the week," he replies with a wicked glint. "We all live under some repression; we have to, it's part of the deal. And what is more invigorating than to unleash some of that stuff? But I cannot account for where any of this comes from. It comes from the unconscious and I cannot account for what ferments in my unconscious. That part of the work doesn't take part in the conscious; one just hopes there is a cave somewhere in your mind that you can ransack.

"But so much of the work relies on consciously allowing things to emerge in spite of yourself," he adds. "Consciously always looking for the instinctive – that animal part of yourself – and even though somewhere inside you sculpt and organise with some reason, there is always something a little more chaotic going on."

So engrossed was the actor in the role that, when asked how long the shoot was, he answers: "I don't know – maybe 12, 14 weeks. I really couldn't tell you. But the joy about great work is that you are not looking for the finishing line. Quite the opposite. As with all artistic endeavour, you lose yourself; it's like time out of time, a period when I lose myself and the clocks stop."

How do the wife and kids cope with having a father who, for long periods, is someone else? "For There Will Be Blood, my wife and kids were with me throughout," he replies. "And they did go a little bit crazy living with Plainview all the time, but the kids thought it was a laugh in the end to have this different bloke as their dad and both did a pretty decent impersonation of me. My wife is amazingly tolerant. I knew that from the word go. She just believes, like I do, that if you are attempting anything of a creative nature, no rules apply."

One of the hardest things for Day-Lewis is letting go of the characters he has so lovingly created. "Well, absurd as it might seem, when you've been someone else for that amount of time, it's even more absurd when it's all over." He laughs. "Then the joke is on all of us, because once a curiosity is unleashed you can't just tie it up again. It does take time to let go. There is no great part of you that wants to stop doing that work, and no matter how much you're begging for it to stop you need someone to put a restraining order on it."

Luckily for me, on the day we met, Plainview had long since vacated the premises."

View full article here

Friday, January 16, 2009

KCACTF Region I workshop/Saturday January 31. Leominster MA

Saturday January 31, 2009 1-3 pm
Free to conference participants

"Post-Performance Blues and Pre-Performance Jitters: A BALANCING ACT"

In a question and answer format, using participants’ experiences and stories while sharing various case studies from her own coaching practice, Emmanuelle Chaulet will lead a workshop on balancing emotions
and acting, and in particular on pre performance stress and post show closure.
For some actors, characters tend to linger around after the show is over, leaving actors drained and emotionally burnt out. Others have intense stage fright. Using insight from her technique "Energize! a holistic approach to
acting," and her book " A BALANCING ACT," Emmanuelle Chaulet will help participants find emotional balance and true closure after the end of a show. Topics will include: Post Show Blues, saying goodbye to a
character, rebalancing your inner self, keeping the character’s strength, protecting one’s integrity when playing negative personalities, and keeping our creative selves balanced and energized throughout the roller coaster of a performing artist’s life.

FMI go to KCACTF website


THE 299: Holistic Acting
(Topics in Theatre) F. Emmanuelle Chaulet

Friday, May 22, 2009 & Friday, May 29, 2009 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 23 & Saturday, May 30 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 24 & Sunday, May 31 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

"Going beyond where Michael Chekhov left off..."

Acting as a mind, body and spirit practice

Invaluable tools to rebalance and heal post-performance stress disorder

Cutting edge information about recovering your Highest Creative Self,
the essence of your character and true emotional balance

In this class you will:

• Discover the anatomy of your energetic system (chakras, aura, flower of life, and much more)
• Reach higher levels of creativity and expression with meditation
• Deepen the connection with your character
• Crack the blocks in your way to perform at your highest potential
• Learn post-performance closure techniques
• Regenerate, rejuvenate, refill, and rebalance

Explore this powerful new tool for performing artists!

A BALANCING ACT, the development of Energize! a holistic approach to acting, by F. Emmanuelle Chaulet is the text book required for this course.
Foreword by Lisa Dalton, co-founder of the National Michael Chekhov Association.
Paperback, 330 pages. $24.95 Available at USM bookstores, on, Google books and

The Instructor: F. Emmanuelle Chaulet is Adjunct Theatre Faculty at the University of Southern Maine. An international film actress, director and acting coach, she is the director / founder of Starlight Acting Institute. Lead film roles include “Boyfriends and Girlfriends” by French New Wave master Eric Rohmer; “All the Vermeers in New York” by Jon Jost, 1991 winner of the best American independent film award; and “Sundowning” by Jim Cole, winner of Cinequest Emerging Maverick award. She trained with the Michael Chekhov technique and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. She studied the energy systems with Nancy Risley, Bernadette Curtis and Lasca Hewes and is a certified RYSE® III practitioner, Reiki practitioner, and Gaiadon Heart facilitator. She has developed a unique method “Energize! a holistic approach to acting,” which is developed in the book “A Balancing Act.” She has been included in “Who’s Who in America” since 2007.

University of Southern Maine Summer Sessions
Gorham campus,

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


A Must-Read For All Artistic Minds!,
January 6, 2009
By Katherine G. Matzell (Portland, ME) -
Emmanuelle Chaulet's "A Balancing Act", though geared mostly towards the actor, is a necessary text for all artists. Chaulet's approach to explaining why we go in and out of balance with our lives and the many roles we play reminds us of why we practice our craft in the first place: It is our very human desire to find an interconnectedness and balance between ourselves and the world around us. But actors seek additional connectedness in the world through channeling other characters, which can lead to emotional and spiritual injury. This book provides the reassurance necessary to re-energize the actor that is so easily overloaded by experiences of unhealthy artistic practice. This book stops the artist in his or her tracks to start back at the beginning with a lesson on the well being of the individual.

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!

(see review on

The Drama Book Shop, Inc.
250 W. 40th St.
New York, NY 10018
Tel: (212) 944-0595
Staff Review

In A Balancing Act, F. Emmanuelle Chaulet clearly and effectively describes her holistic system of combining acting techniques with work on the energetic system within the body. She has been using this approach, which she calls “Energize!” for about twenty years as a teacher working with students; as a director working with actors; and as an actor working on herself. She focuses on the Strasberg [and Michael Chekhov]* technique[s] of acting, so actors trained in this technique would be the most likely to respond to the vocabulary she uses and to the exercises she proposes. As a young actress, Chaulet found that the techniques she was using left her unable to let go of the darker sides of the characters she was portraying, creating an unhealthy imbalance in her life. She discovered that by applying work on the energetic systems to her acting she could approach her craft from a healthier angle. The title of the book refers to balancing all aspects of one’s life and art, including the polarities within the human body, the use of varying acting and movement techniques, and finding balance between one’s life on and offstage. Through simple and precise descriptions of exercises related to acting, energy, and a combination of the two, Chaulet has written a useful and comprehensive book on acting.
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.

*corrected by BalanceYourAct Blog