What is Meisner Technique?*
Sanford Meisner was an actor and acting teacher in the States and one of the founders of the Group Theatre.
The work developed by Meisner relies on 3 main principles:
-Immagination is the actor's creative tool.
-Acting means really doing.
-In order to be spontaneous actor's have to stop being self-conscious and learn to follow their instinct moment to moment when on stage.
The Technique is the sum of a series of co-dependent exercises that help actors stay focused on the present, they help freeing their instinct making them more present and strong on stage.
Meisner developed his work inspired by the behavioural strand of the Stanislavskij system.
(specifically developing his concepts of communication and adaptation).
The technique emphasizes "moment-to-moment" spontaneity through communication with other actors in order to generate behavior that is truthful within imagined, fictional circumstances.
In his acting techniques Sanford Meisner has a strong base in actions, as he emphasizes on "doing." The questions "what are you playing?" and "what are you doing?" are asked frequently, in order to remind actors to commit themselves to playing what Stanislavski called a "task" or "objective," rather than focusing on the words of a play's dialogue.
Silence, dialogue, and activity all require the actor to find a purpose for performing the action involved. By combining the two main tasks of focusing attention on a partner and committing to an action, the technique aims to force an actor into "the moment" (a common Meisner phrase), while simultaneously propelling the actor forward with concentrated purpose.
The acting techniques Sanford Meisner created gives the actor the opportunity to become thruthful in their performance. The more an actor can take-in about the partner and the surroundings while performing in character, the more Meisner believed they can "leave themselves alone" and "live truthfully."
Meisner training also includes extensive work on crafting or preparing a role. Actors prepare emotional responses by "personalizing" and "paraphrasing" material and by using their imagination and "daydreaming" around a play's events in highly specific ways that they've learnt are particularly evocative for them personally. Solid preparation supports the spontaneity, in line with Martha Graham's observation that "I work eight hours a day, every day, so that in the evenings I can improvise."
During his career Meisner taught several students such as: Sandra Bullock, Dylan McDemortt,James Caan,Steve McQueen, Robert Duvall , Gregory Peck, Bob Fosse, Diane Keaton, Jon Voight, Jeff Goldblum, Grace Kelly, Tony Randall e Sydney Pollack.