- The repetition exercises
- Emotional preparation
Acting is not talking, Its living off the other fellow!!!Sanford Meisner
Meisner acting is one of the essential techniques in the modern acting world. It teaches actors to be authentic and natural in their acting, helping you to capture your audience. Meisner came up with his variation of acting and incorporated several styles. Instead of emotional memory applied in method acting, He used effective memory which dictates that actors unlock their emotional reserves and draw from them to bring out a realistic performance. Instead of method acting, Meisner came up with his slogan, ‘The reality of doing.’
In this article, we will look at some Meisner acting technique exercises that will help you become an amazing Meisner actor.
The repetition exercises
This is one of the most standard exercises that people learning the Meisner technique are subjected to. It targets the actor’s responses, helping him or her observe the behaviour and actions of fellow actors. It is a simple exercise; just make sure that you have a fellow actor. For this exercise, you will face a fellow actor and say a phrase repeatedly, with different tones and intensity. The fellow actor should then repeat all you have said. This exercise is essential because it helps workers up their spontaneity and get out of their comfort zone.
You are probably wondering why you have to repeat everything your fellow actor says when you can do the same on the mirror. Well, the repetition exercise targets underlying emotions, helping you to read past the dialogue. It gets you committed, instead of cheap pretences. It teaches students to react emotionally and authentically for a powerful performance. It even improves the relationship between the actors. Since they have to observe each other as they perform, you can also try out the advanced stages, where physical tasks are generally added to the dialogue for better performance.
You must be emotionally prepared to master the Meisner technique. A part of its exercise, therefore, touches on emotional preparedness. This exercise requires that actors develop a deep emotional connection with their experiences so that they can effortlessly embody their characters. You are only going to achieve a natural performance if you immerse yourself and understand your actor’s emotional life.
Emotional preparedness allows actors to react realistically and authentically. They become their characters, unlike other acting techniques where the actor and the cast are two different people. In case you do not understand this, here is a simple explanation. Actors feel the emotions instead of acting the emotion. All the emotions that the actor feels are real. If the character is angry, then the actor feels the same way.
This preparation involves a lot of research to deepen their understanding of the circumstances and emotions surrounding the character. Actors, therefore, dig into their emotional reserves and identify related situations that made them feel the same way. This exercise pushes the actor to the extreme. You may be forced to experience a situation to develop a personal relationship with it. For example, you might be forced to spend a week in the snowy parts of the mountains just to know how it feels.
You may also be required to book a session with the psychiatrist in case you have not been to one. This experience is, therefore, extraordinarily personal and intense. Meisner was only involved in the creation of the foundation, but the main work falls on the actors who must approach the technique in a personal manner.
One of the most famous quotes by Sanford Meisner that is taught in schools is ‘Act before you think-your instincts are more honest than your thoughts’. This method of acting, therefore, heavily relies on improvisation. Schools of acting such as classical acting do not allow actors to improvise scenes and performance while on stage. Everything that actors do must always stick to the script, however hard it is to achieve that.
This technique, therefore, heavily relies on losing self-consciousness and remaining in the moment. Consequently, you must immerse yourself in the acting field and forget about your surroundings. Meisner developed several exercises to help you achieve this. These exercises were developed using the principles that Meisner taught and believed in to help actors improvise instinctively. You must be prepared to demonstrate authentic emotions and natural reactions, truthfully and spontaneously.
The truth is that you won’t get the hang of these exercises at first but be sure that you will love them once you immerse yourself into this field. You will be able to achieve a level of authenticity that transverses beyond the standard acting styles. You will only attract and keep your audience involved in your acting by appearing as natural as possible.
This method of acting requires students to work on several progressively complex exercises to help them develop the ability to improvise. You are also required to access a select emotional life and then apply everything that you have learnt about improvisation to your acting. Most of the exercises that are relevant to this technique help you to interpret the script and deliver it in the best way possible. You are not, therefore, locked to a series of events. You also have the chance to think about and create the specific physical characteristics of each of the character.
Meisner technique, through its exercises, helps actors to get out of their head or comfort zone and get instinctively lost in their surroundings. Most of the practices, therefore, focus on repetition, which allows you to unlock the underlying emotions instead of focusing on the textual aspect of the script. Meisner trained actors are therefore more natural or authentic as compared to classically trained actors. External events and occurrences influence most of the acting.
meisner acting technique exercises
You will only become a good actor if you exercise. In case you have been thinking of mastering Meisner acting technique, we have provided some of the starting points that will help. Please do not shy away from repetition exercise; it is one of the best.
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