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SANFORD “Sandy” MEISNER (1905-1997) and the Meisner Technique.

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Presentation on theme: "SANFORD “Sandy” MEISNER (1905-1997) and the Meisner Technique."— Presentation transcript:

1 SANFORD “Sandy” MEISNER ( ) and the Meisner Technique

2 The core principles “Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances…is my definition of good acting.” “Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances…is my definition of good acting.” To achieve this, Meisner emphasizes that actors must: To achieve this, Meisner emphasizes that actors must: First and foremost, fully understand and develop character First and foremost, fully understand and develop character See the script as an outline of the emotional reality and commit to the objectives within a play and a scene See the script as an outline of the emotional reality and commit to the objectives within a play and a scene actors should throw out stage directions and emotional descriptions actors should throw out stage directions and emotional descriptions “What’s my motivation?” “What’s my motivation?” Move the scene forward, pushing toward your objective Move the scene forward, pushing toward your objective

3 The core principles, cont. memorize and practice the text in a completely neutral, non-judgmental, cold, uncalculated, expressionless fashion (no line readings). memorize and practice the text in a completely neutral, non-judgmental, cold, uncalculated, expressionless fashion (no line readings). Eliminates tensions, the actor is relaxed with the lines and open to any influence (esp. those presented by the scene partner): emotional flexibility. Eliminates tensions, the actor is relaxed with the lines and open to any influence (esp. those presented by the scene partner): emotional flexibility. Don’t pick up cues; pick up impulses Don’t pick up cues; pick up impulses Only respond when the imaginary circumstances/ scene partners genuinely prompt a response Only respond when the imaginary circumstances/ scene partners genuinely prompt a response Don’t just wait for your turn to speak! Don’t just wait for your turn to speak! LISTEN and respond in character LISTEN and respond in character “Be in the moment.” “Be in the moment.” Don’t project; don’t indicate, embody Don’t project; don’t indicate, embody Focus on emotional detail above all else Focus on emotional detail above all else i.e. instead of focusing on visualizing snow outside a window, focus on an objective (“If it doesn’t stop snowing, I’ll never get back to New York and I’ll lose my job”). i.e. instead of focusing on visualizing snow outside a window, focus on an objective (“If it doesn’t stop snowing, I’ll never get back to New York and I’ll lose my job”).

4 LESSON ONE “The foundation of acting is the reality of doing…The foundation of acting is the reality of doing. The reality of doing.” “The foundation of acting is the reality of doing…The foundation of acting is the reality of doing. The reality of doing.”

5 LESSON TWO “Don’t do anything unless something happens to make you do it…What you do doesn’t depend on you; it depends on the other fellow.” “Don’t do anything unless something happens to make you do it…What you do doesn’t depend on you; it depends on the other fellow.”

6 Emotional Preparation & Particularization “The purpose of [emotional] preparation is so that you do not come in emotionally empty…It’s simple. Don’t come in empty.” “The purpose of [emotional] preparation is so that you do not come in emotionally empty…It’s simple. Don’t come in empty.” “When you prepare, go into a dark corner if you can find one.” “When you prepare, go into a dark corner if you can find one.” “Preparation lasts only for the first moment of the scene, and then you never know what’s going to happen.” “Preparation lasts only for the first moment of the scene, and then you never know what’s going to happen.” Particularization - it's "as if"…“your personal example chosen from your experience or your imagination which emotionally clarifies the cold material of the text. a particularization is similar to preparation only that it's for a specific moment, chosen, and rehearsed. Particularization - it's "as if"…“your personal example chosen from your experience or your imagination which emotionally clarifies the cold material of the text. a particularization is similar to preparation only that it's for a specific moment, chosen, and rehearsed.

7 Meisner wisdom “It takes twenty years to become an actor.” “It takes twenty years to become an actor.” “How does an actor think? He doesn’t think—he does.” “How does an actor think? He doesn’t think—he does.” “No acting please…Be a human being who works off what exists under imaginary circumstances. Don’t give a performance. Let the performance give you.” “No acting please…Be a human being who works off what exists under imaginary circumstances. Don’t give a performance. Let the performance give you.”


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