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NMSU acting residency fuels intensive coaching for students, faculty

It was a week of exhilaration for theatre arts faculty and students from New Mexico State University as the National Michael Chekhov Association took center stage at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts July 6-12.

Picture of actors onstage
Participants with the National Michael Chekhov Association residency at NMSU concluded their week of acting training with a public onstage performance. (NMSU photo)

The association -- which has presented intensive acting workshops around the world -- gave Las Cruces participants the opportunity to learn techniques used by A-list actors such as Johnny Depp and Anthony Hopkins. The program immersed actors in an intensive process: first learn the acting tools, then use what they learned through improvisation before rehearsing a scene.

?I think it?s a wonderful asset to NMSU that this national organization offer this specialized acting technique on campus for our students, faculty and greater community to participate,? said Wil Kilroy, head of the Department of Theatre Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, and co-founder of the National Michael Chekhov Association (NMCA).

Michael Chekhov, known as a premier actor in the Moscow Art Theatre of Russia, eventually performed on Broadway and in film and was nominated for an Academy Award in Alfred Hitchcock?s ?Spellbound.? He coached Marilyn Monroe extensively during her early films. Actors using these techniques include: James Spader, Marisa Tomei and Helen Hunt.

Along with Kilroy, the NMCA was co-founded 23 years ago by actress and director Lisa Dalton, and the late Academy Award nominated Mala Powers. Dalton was in residence teaching alongside Kilroy for the week.
The week of training culminated in a public onstage presentation providing students, professors and professional actors from around the country, some as far away as India, the opportunity to demonstrate what they had learned.

NMSU?s theatre arts department plans to establish an annual residency with NMCA to provide future workshops.