Meisner taught acting for 60 years. his students achieved remarkable success and were easily recognized and distinguished. Meisner personally trained 20 teachers to carry on his approach and these teachers have mentored the second generation of acting teachers. Twenty years after his passing, Sanford Meisner's technique is one of the most recognizable and renowned acting techniques in the
Step by step approach
Meisner believed that acting should be taught like other artistic disciplines- one step at a time. This belief stemmed from his training as a concert pianist. Other techniques have no clear steps or direction and they can quickly overwhelm the actor with advanced scenes. Meisner developed a series of exercises that help the students build a solid foundation of acting skills and build the actors' confidence as they master each step in the training.
Meisner always looked for the simplest and most direct way to learn acting. This approach helped spark the actors' imagination and made them more open to stimuli and emotions. Any exercise or approach that was too complex or too detailed shut down the actors and their imagination. This concept of simplicity and directness has continued to be one of the biggest differences between Meisner's approach and other acting approaches.
Meisner believed that each student had their own unique path to learning the art of acting. He always followed the same principles but would tailor his comments and exercises to suit the needs of each student from one class to the next.
Meisner agreed with Stanislavski that the best acting must be based on truth. his students learned how to "really do" whatever they were doing on stage. Emotions were never pushed out or faked. Meisner taught his students to trust their humanity. If the actors believed in the imaginary circumstances and really did what they were doing in the imaginary circumstances, then the proper emotions would follow. Every exercise that Meisner developed reinforces and strengthens the actors' truthfulness.
The Other Person
Meisner developed a series of exercises that helped the actors focus their attention on and make use of the other person in the scene. Meisner believed that the most truthful and spontaneous acting happens when the actor is responding to the other person from one unanticipated moment to the next. The actor became the feather and his scene partner became the wind. In Meisner's approach, the other person became the most important person on stage.
Sanford Meisner's simple and effective approach to actor training is one of the world's renowned and respected techniques and is taught all over the world. His technique gives you a solid foundation of good acting skills. Training with a certified technique teacher will assure you that your training is the Meisner® Technique and not a personal interpretation of various exercises.
If you are just starting your actor training
The Meisner® Technique is a strong foundation to begin your studies with as it will equip you with all the necessary tools an actor should possess.