Sanford Meisner (Acting Theorist)

Sanford Meisner (1905-1997)

Sanford Meisner was a member of the Group Theatre in New York during the 1930s and 40s. He eventually left to form the Neighborhood Playhouse which would become the central launching place of what became known as the Meisner Technique.

Based upon the later acting techniques of Konstantin Stanislavski, Meisner's training for actors was characterized by:

I.                   A strong foundation in “behavioral exploration”
a.       behavioral "activities"
b.      behavioral “communication” (between actors)

II.                Actors who use the Meisner Technique spend a great deal of time learning how to find activities that fit well into a scene.
a.       Activities could be of any kind; building, cleaning, trying to figure out a mental puzzle. (whatever activities you choose, how you do these activities and how you interact with the requisite props reveals a great deal, both consciously and subconsciously, about your character.)

III.             Meisner's major unique contribution to the craft of acting is:
"Repetition Exercise,"  - a training exercise for building skill in
         behavioral communication.

The general rules: 

You describe the behavior of another person in the scene
You repeat the last words said to you by the other person.

The result:

1.)    Actors become very proficient in being able to understand & respond to the body language of other people. (This allows them to tailor their performances to the moment-to-moment nuances of their fellow actors.)

2.)     Actors learn to put less emphasis on the words of the scene, but instead draw out the underlying meanings of the words.


No comments:

Post a Comment