About The Meisner Technique
Who was Sanford Meisner?
A 20th century theatre practitioner influenced by the early work of Konstantin Stanislavsky.
What is The Meisner Technique?
Named after its creator, the technique is a powerful and respected approach to acting that is taught in most major drama schools across the world. Meisner believed that listening and responding truthfully is the best way to keep actors connected - and it is this connection that makes audiences sit forward in their seats.
Using a series of sequential exercises to get actors ‘out of their heads’, the technique helps to unleash truthful, emotional performances, let go of self-consciousness, expand acting range, build self awareness and develop the ability to act moment to moment.
Originally developed in the 1930s, the technique later became popular in the U.S. thanks to actors such as Steve McQueen, Jeff Goldblum, James Gandolfini, Diane Keaton and Sandra Bullock, and it is also endorsed by writers such as David Mamet and Arthur Miller.
How is the technique taught?
There is a common and frustrating misconception that The Meisner Technique is 'just an exercise'. It isn't - or, at least, it shouldn't be! This training isn't about making you good at 'a technique'; it is about helping you to trust yourselves, work in the moment and become as open and employable as possible - the exercises are simply tools used to get you there.
In reality, Meisner’s training programme is a set of progressive exercises and tools including:
Repetition The exercise most commonly attributed to The Meisner Technique is designed to shift your attention from yourself onto your playing partner’s behaviour, bringing you into the present moment and exploring your truthful responses.
Cold-reading helping you to approach new texts without over-analysing, thereby allowing you to make organic discoveries about texts at first read.
Text analysis a practical, 3-step process applicable to all texts that allows you to discover your given circumstances.
Characterisation centres around transformation and the art of appearing as someone else. We start with small and simple physical changes and develop the skills to authentically inhabit a character.
How do I get started?
At Both Feet, we use Meisner’s exercises as a basis for our teaching - but that is just the beginning. Check out our Training Courses, Classes and Masterclasses for full info about how you can use the Meisner Technique to enhance your craft.
"Don't be an actor, be a human being"