Sanford Meisner was one particular of the original members of “The Group Theatre”, founded in 1931 by Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford. The aim of “The Group ” as they came to be identified was to bring truth to the theater, though focusing on relevant social problems of the day.
Four renowned teachers came out of “The Group”: Sanford Meisner, Stella Adler, Robert Lewis, and Lee Strasberg. It is a matter of opinion as to which of their approaches functions very best. For me Sanford Meisner’s technique is the most helpful way of working. My motives are as follows:
Meisner was not interested in playing the “outcome”. Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, all fall under the heading of outcomes. Meisner’s concentrate was on what he referred to as “the reality of performing”. meisner technique was the important to “living truthfully in the provided set of imaginary circumstances.” Outcome oriented acting was not only false it was unacceptable. Reaching “truthful” outcomes was not unique to Meisner. All of the good teachers, dating back to Stanislavsky, had been in search of a technique that would allow actors to obtain emotional truth on a consistent basis. The question was and nonetheless is, what is the most effective way to accomplish it?
Rumor has it (due to the fact their have been no biographies written about Meisner) that when laying in his hospital bed recuperating from surgery he pondered the question of how best to get actors to perform instinctively. To do that he had to come up with a approach that would take away the thought process from the actor’s work. What he came up with has been serving actors for decades. Robert Duvall, Joanne Woodward, Gregory Peck, Mary Steenburgen, Jeff Goldblum, to name a couple of, all studied with Meisner and all, with the exception of Gregory Peck, who passed in 2003, are still working today.
Meisner discovered via a series of “repetition workout routines”, that had been of his own invention, a signifies of removing the intellectual thought course of action from the actor’s function. Coupled with the “independent physical activity”, which sharpened the actor’s concentration and focus, he was in a position to place in location a program/approach that enabled actors to work from their “gut” (instinct). In his classes he continually stressed the value of “listening”, even though “functioning off” the other person, to get his students to express impulsively their “truthful point of view”. Doing, not Pondering was the essential. If you “pinch” me, I will say “ouch”, was the basis for his “point of view” repetition. It was the only way to establish the actor’s instinct, and it worked.
As a teacher of the Meisner Strategy for the previous 25 years, (former actor), and director, I have encountered a lot of actors whose main complaint and frustration is their inability to get out of their heads. Naturally I encourage them to sign up for classes to identify if this approach most effective suits their needs. In many much more situations than not-absolutely nothing is one hundred%-it does.
Even though I can’t and will not assure results I can say with confidence that if you aspire to practical experience the joy of living in the moment then this technique will serve you well.
The Alan Gordon Studio gives ongoing classes in the Meisner approach, scene study, monologues and audition strategy. Classes meet as soon as a week and students get the opportunity to function every single week in a relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to learning. In my scene study class students learn how to apply the technique to the script.