This is a single of the first lessons in the Meisner class and introduces the basics of The Repeat Physical exercise, which is the foundation of The Meisner Method.
How does it work?
Two actors A and B sit opposite every other. Actor A turns away from B and when instructed turns to face B saying “the initial point” they notice about that actor. Actor B listens and immediately repeats what they hear, actor A listens and quickly repeats back, B then listens and repeats and so on…
Throughout the approach this develops into improvisations encouraging open, honest and instinctive interaction amongst two characters.
It is important at this stage that the actor does not come up with an opinion about that other individual, like commenting on what their partner perhaps thinking or feeling, but sticks to physical observations: For example, “green shirt”, “red hair”, “hands on lap” or “you have significant eyes”.
The reason for this is so to encourage the actor to develop his/her capacity to genuinely listen to the other particular person applying their eyes as nicely as their ears. They also are encouraged to stay out of their head and not censor their responses.
Working instinctively like this implies that by means of the repeat physical exercise several emotions will be knowledgeable by the actors. For example the actors may perhaps knowledge boredom from carrying out 4 minutes of the repeat, they might obtain something their companion said amusing so feel the urge to laugh, aggravation or anger due to the fact of what has been stated and sometimes fear of the exercising itself.
Worry of the exercise:
Naturally actors will be scared of what they may well say to a different actor if they are asked to speak without censoring themselves. We are told by teachers and parents to “feel before we speak” from an early age, so naturally the actor will worry the worst if they are getting encouraged to break this habit and if not monitored the actor can turn out to be obsessed with this fear.
This has to be handled extremely carefully by teachers and actors who are beginning out in The Meisner Strategy. It is throughout these early stages that everyone will have to commit to the exercising. Genuinely take the initial thing you see, then listen and repeat and most importantly Keep out of your heads!” By this I mean that the actor ought to concentrate all their attention on their companion and stop thinking about him/herself.
If the actor trusts this procedure they will under no circumstances say something hurtful to their partners. They may say things their partners may well not like or that may embarrass them but to be hurtful needs intent, which in turn demands you to be in your personal head. If an actor is not focusing on the exercising via a fear of what they may say or any other reason then they will attempt to fake it and this is where the troubles happen.
Recall at this stage of your function that it is much easier the to attack yet another person than to compliment them. If you fully grasp why this is then you can address the issue.
Why is this?
Since attacking a person leaves the actor nevertheless in control and safe in the knowledge that they can not be taken advantage of. To be good to another particular person leaves you open to attack so is tough for a lot of people to do.
I do make it clear from the start that taking the very first factor when seeking at somebody does not imply getting nasty. The issue is when the actor fears what they could say they tend to become obsessed with this, which means they are as well a lot in their heads censoring and second-guessing their responses. The workout then becomes about getting able to say what you really feel you shouldn’t say rather than genuinely searching at the person opposite and “taking the first point.”
If an actor for what ever cause is not committing to the work as instructed then they tend to demonstrate what they think the Meisner is about with out putting themselves at any danger. Sadly that can be (and normally is) at the expense of a different actor.
This has to be monitored, as it is harmful for the actor and irresponsible of the teacher to enable this to come about. If you see this happening in a group then address it quickly. If after a group discussion an actor still chooses to cheat the exercise then speak with them privately, express your concerns and introduce the thought that perhaps Meisner is not for them. Never force meisner acting technique into doing what he or she doesn’t want to do or not ready to do. There are a lot of other procedures and acting techniques out there and Meisner is not for everybody.
I am a freelance director, writer and acting teacher with over fifteen years in the business enterprise. I have directed brief films, stage plays, VT’S for tv, music videos and commercials.
I teach acting in quite a few of the major drama schools in and about London including Central College, Mountview Academy, E15 and Italia Conti Academy. I also run common workshops at the Actors Centre, City Lit and coach actors privately.
My films have previewed internationally at short film festivals and been broadcast on digital Television. My theatre productions have played in fringe venues around the country and I have won an Edinburgh Fringe 1st Award with 104 Theatre Business for a devised piece entitled “See Base Of Can”.
This year I directed a production of Gorky’s Summerfolk at The Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone North West London. I am creating a function length documentary that tells the story of South Africa’s Space Theatre with it’s founder Brian Astbury and writing my subsequent function length script, which is a psychological thriller entitled “The Cut”.