Friday, December 16, 2011

2012: New resolutions, new shift, new paradigm

Frost Crystal, by Jean-Pierre Rousset
As we approach the change of year and the entry to 2012, we see that around us everything is already shifting, transforming and even collapsing to open for rebuilding.  Dictatorships becoming democracies, the abundance of the very few starting to be redistributed to others,  the research and finding of new energy resources that will not pollute the earth and obvious climate change: all these things show us that the earth, our home, is profoundly shifting.

The shift that is happening around us is also happening in ourselves. Our cells are shifting on the vibratory level. It can be scary, it can be a roller coaster and we don't know what will come. I invite you all to embrace it and ride the wave as surfers. If you wake up at night and feel the pulse of the change going through you, as I often do, I invite you to breathe through it and let go. I invite you to trust that everything will be all right. It will be a different life, but better for all.

Perhaps it is finally possible that we can trust ourselves, love ourselves, and open up to our inner guidance. As I have often said: ACTORS, PERFORMERS, you are a LIVING WORK OF ART!

Let this sensation inform your thoughts and create inner respect for you, and for others so we can move into a world with a newly found respect for each other.
As performers, you will lead the way.

Best wishes for a happy, prosperous and enlightened year 2012!

Emmanuelle Chaulet

Friday, November 11, 2011

Character Work: Letting The Character Lead

When I recently responded to a blog post on character preparation, I brought up the idea, central to my method, the Energize technique, of “Letting the Character Lead.” James Devereaux, author of the Great Acting Blog asked me to share with you an excerpt of my book A BALANCING ACT on that subject.
Here it is, found in Chapter VII:

Try to “hear” the character speak.
Begin to cooperate with your character,
asking questions and getting its “visible” answers.
Michael Chekhov

A character, sir, can always ask a man who he is.
Because a character truly has a life of his own,
marked by his own characteristics, because of which he is always “someone.”
On the other hand, a man – I’m not saying you at this moment –
a man in general, can be “nobody.”
-Luigi Pirandello

The outside-in approach
The theatre world has been divided on this issue for centuries. Some say it is better to create a character from personal knowledge and past experiences (Lee Strasberg, for example). Others say that imagination must be the primary foundation for the actor’s work, that form precedes content and that by working on the form of the expression, the body language and the gesture, the emotion will follow (Michael Chekhov, for example). I have been trained both ways and I see truth in each. I am a strong believer in using both in some ways. The order and sequence in which the actor needs to approach the role doesn’t really matter. However, I truly feel that an actor must get inspiration from outside his personality or he will forever play himself in various situations. Yet, he also needs to root his performance within his own subconscious, in order to be truthful and to exploit the various facets of his personality. After all, actors are chameleons. They love changing personas, and they naturally have an ability to do so, or they would not have become actors.
The first phase of the Energize technique is based on the outside-in approach. In the next chapter we will see how to integrate the inside-out approach via the use of sub-personalities. Ultimately, an actor should use both simultaneously. I conceptualize it this way: starting from inside to open the aspect of oneself that is most appropriate for this particular role, then later reaching outside to wear the new “skin” of the character.
But first, one needs to get to know and befriend the character. Stanislavski called that “falling in love” with the character. In Six Characters in Search of an Author, Luigi Pirandello puts the following words in the mouth of the Father, one of the six “immaterial” characters who tries to convince a director and his acting troupe to perform their story:

FATHER: One is born to life in many ways and in many forms: as a tree, or as a stone, as water, as a butterfly…or as a human. And one can also be born as a character … “He who has the luck to be born as a live character can even laugh at death. He will never die. The one who will die is the man, the writer, the instrument of the creation. The creation never dies … They live eternally, because, being live germs, they had the good fortune to find a fertile matrix, a fantasy that knew how to raise and nourish them, to make them live for eternity! …
DIRECTOR: All of this is fine. But what is it that you want here?
FATHER: We want to live, sir!
DIRECTOR: For eternity?
FATHER: [referring to the actors]: No sir, only for a moment…in them.

Listening to the character, befriending it
One of the first exercises I do with my actors is a relaxation/visualization focused on the character. After a good lying down relaxation on the mat, during which time I take them through all the chakras, aura, and different elements of the energetic system while doing a self-clearing, I ask performers to visualize the character they are going to play. Using their five senses, I ask them to observe, feel, listen to, smell, touch in their minds eye, and (why not?), taste the character they are going to play. This exercise is a “getting to know each other” time, as if the character and the actor were going to become dance partners, and even live together for a while in a marriage. I ask the actor to explore the persona they are going to embody. Using their subconscious and not censoring any information their imagination and intuition are going to give, they create, or more accurately, discover, the character’s personality. A composite of voice, movements, posture, mannerism, thoughts, inner monologue, and personality traits, the character then starts having a life of its own and becomes a real person. I ask actors to listen to what the character wants to tell them. I ask them to take notes at the end of the relaxation/visualization. The character will tell its story, its challenges, and share what its objective, deepest wants and yearnings are. He or she will talk about their struggles and about the obstacles in their way. They will talk from their point of view about the other characters, about events in the play or in their life before the play. He or she will share their childhood, their stories of love and lust, abuse and revenge. From these confidences, the images and feelings about who the character really is will be more vivid, more tangible. The objectives and actions will be clearer and more obvious. This inner dialogue is like having an imaginary date with your character, befriending him or her, finding its qualities, its humanness, and listening to its point of view and its story. Stanislavski talked about “flirting” with your character. It is indeed a seduction dance, a tender approach. Shirley MacLaine writes in Going Within about her performance of Madame Sousatzka:

“I proceeded to sculpt, with Schlesinger’s help [the director] what Sousatzka looked like, what she wore, how her hair was styled, what jewelry clanked on her wrists, how she walked, talked, ate, breathed, laughed, and cried . . . She became a composite of reality; a real, living, breathing character fashioned from our creativity. After I finished my composition of thought, I let her go. I threw her up to the universe and said “Now you play yourself through me.”

Stay tuned for another post about more practical exercises.

© Emmanuelle Chaulet  A BALANCING ACT 2008

Emmanuelle Chaulet is a Lecturer of Theatre at the University of Southern Maine, and an artist’s coach. She is the author of A BALANCING ACT, (Starlight Acting Books 2008) and can be contacted at:  and or

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What are you sacrificing in order to achieve success?

Jephthah's sacrifice - Maciejowski Bible

I just participated in an interesting discussion on a Linkedin actors group about  sacrifice... So what are YOU sacrificing for success?

It is true that becoming an artist, whether actor, dancer, musician is a road full of sacrifices. Often, one needs to abandon the idea of a stable life, to tour with a suitcase and perform in small towns, where after the thrill of the stage, there is nothing much waiting for you but a hotel room with hundreds of cable channels..
Often, one needs to leave friends, family, roots to pursue a dream in LA, New York, Paris..
Often, one needs to live with no money, juggling jobs, waiting tables or putting double shifts to make ends meet, with no time to do what others can do: have relaxing moments. Often, one needs to accept daily rejection for the hope of one day, getting the big break.
Often, one needs to also put long hours of practice, suffer in the physical or emotional body, all of this in the sacred name of ART.

I did that, we all do that.. we all think that suffering will produce good work.. that we need to feel pain in order to be creative, to pursue our dream. We are the soldiers of the stage, the gladiators in the arena...eradicating any weakness in ourselves, not in the name of freedom, but in the name of creativity.

But let me tell you, you can sacrifice all you want, but NEVER sacrifice your soul... know who you truly are, find, connect with and nurture your true self. Spend time with it and sit with it, supporting its growth.  Be the gardener to your soul. Give it time, light, water, love.. and watch it grow.

It is the only thing that will keep you going, because the road ahead is going to be tough.. no question!
So take great care of YOU with compassion and love.

F. Emmanuelle Chaulet
artists coach
For more information on individual support sessions for artists and the book A BALANCING ACT visit:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Voice Dialogue for Performers

Voice Dialogue is a powerful technique for all but holds special interest for perfomers.

Voice Dialogue, created by Dr. Hal and Sidra Stone, is a guided, facilitated process to explore the inner world of the Selves or Sub-Personalities and develop an Aware Ego Process. In Voice Dialogue, a facilitator will help you let your inner-selves speak their thoughts and voice their feelings and opinions on an issue that is important to you. Typically during a session, one will open the discussion and ask to speak to two polar opposites. For example, we would talk to the part of you that loves beeing lazy, and later on, to its complete opposite, the part of you that is an overachiever; or to the fearless part of you and then to the part that is afraid, etc. We would discuss their respective roles, goals and tactics. We would ask how they each feel in your body, when they appeared in your life, what they push you to do or not do, why they want you to behave a certain way, etc...

The goal of Voice Dialogue is to reinforce your strength in the Center, as well as to embrace ALL of your inner-selves, because each and every one of them has a special role and your best interest at heart. Each one of this cast of inner characters is fulfilling a specific part in your psyche and all are necessary. Getting them to talk is helping resolve the inner conflicts and turmoils.

For artists, this technique becomes very interesting in clearing what holds you back. The voices will each speak their reasons, and you will be able to discover what is holding you back in your evolution and why you follow a certain behavior sometimes in spite of yourself. The key is to not judge, but to listen, with care, empathy and neutrality, so that each voice can feel respected and loved. After all, they have guided you to where you are and have your highest interest at heart. They only sometimes confuse protecting you with holding you back.

Actors are prime candidates for Voice Dialogue as it is exactly as working with a character, except that it is one of your inner-characters, one of your sub-personalities.
I discovered Voice Dialogue with late Mala Powers,  and Lisa Dalton of the Chekhov Institute,  and later studied with Martha-Lou Wolf, Ph.d. to become a facilitator. This has been a fascinating journey in the subconscious...
I invite you to try one of these sessions, and discover your inner-world of characters!

FMI for a SKYPE, phone or in-person Voice Dialogue session, please email me at:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Xavier Durringer interviewed at Cannes for La Conquete

As always, Xavier is straight to the point and has no fear.. kudos! I can't wait to see the film...

Xavier Durringer by clemtom

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Clean your Self....

Photo Jean-Pierre Rousset
Spring is coming... Yesterday in Maine, we had the most beautiful weather and 62ºF!!! an incredible warmth for us up north, Down East..... Spring means that the time has come for new life to sprout out of the dark, moist soil. It also means for many of us, clearing the path for this new life, new energy by cleaning houses, closets, and attics.

How about cleaning and clearing your inner closets and attics?
Letting go of what you do not need or want, and of the blocks in your way. Releasing and transmuting your fears, your limitations to open the door to new ideas, thought patterns and strength.  Releasing expectations from others, and expectations that you put on your own shoulders. Letting the free, loving, clearing Light repair your system to bring you to your highest potential and creativity.

Visualize, perceive this beam of light entering the top of your head, then touching your forehead (the place between your eyes, also called the Third Eye), your throat, your heart. In your heart this beam of light bathes and calms your heart rate, bringing it to coherence. Focus on feelings of appreciation and gratitude to regulate your nervous system. Open your heart to the infinite Love of Source.
Release the stress, negative emotions and pain and let them be transformed in the infinite cosmos.

Continue by perceiving this beam of light touching and clearing your solar plexus, then your lower abdomen, and then let it pass your feet going down to the center and crystalin core of the Earth. It connects you from heaven to earth, like an antena running through your spine.

Then feel this beautiful, and clearing energy surround you in a bubble of lights and colors. In that bubble you can recharge and regenerate.
This sphere of light is protective and clearing. It rotates clockwise,  from left to right, and raises the vibration of your energy system.

Then concentrate again on your heart, feeling the warmth of the energy source in your heart.
Finally, reconnect with your five senses, smell, touch, sound, taste, and sight and the room, and the here and now.

If you take the time each day to mentally clear your energy system like this, you will feel lighter and clearer.
I will be happy to help you learn these skills through my program of sessions and tele-sessions via Skype or phone.

This spring I offer a package of 6 sessions at $65 each that will teach you skills like RYSE® to self-manage your energy system. (regular sessions $80/$70) I am booking sessions for April now..

Invest in yourself... learn how to clear the path in front of you and manifest your highest potential.
Email me for more info.

Take great care,

Emmanuelle Chaulet
Energy Awareness Counselor, CRPL3, Artists coach
This article is  © Emmanuelle Chaulet 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Luxury of Time

Photo Frost:
Today, unexpected snow day in Maine, and all of a sudden TIME is give to me....
This luxury feels like a blessing and as I sip on my morning coffee, I am pondering what will I do today I have not had time for?

 And I am drawn to reflection: sometimes, the to do list got to pause, so you can go inward and reflect on where you are, where you want to go and the path accomplished. Giving THANKS for your blessings, and the gifts given to you, as big or as small, and opening your heart to infinite possibilities.
We often forget that we can accomplish more sometimes by not doing, and by just being...
In our Occidental society governed by the DO, DO pushers, a pause feels like a stolen vacation and a moment we almost feel guilty of. But these moments are necessary to be able to guide your boat. otherwise you might miss the iceberg ahead...

So, as often as you can, connect with the part of you who just wants to be.
Listen to it, even if it only gives you silence.
It holds in you the secret to happiness, manifestation and peace.


Emmanuelle Chaulet
Artists Coach, CRPL3, Adjunct Theatre Faculty