“The Sanford Meisner Technique is defined as the simple act of doing – of action borne on emotion, which takes place one honest moment at a time.” – Sanford Meisner
This is the beautiful, frustrating, gloriously simple principle of the Meisner Technique, an approach to acting that I only came across after drama school, after university, after I got so curious about its ‘cult like’ reputation that I had to try it for myself.
I started with a crash course at City Lit, then read every single book I could find, then did a second and a third term of lessons, and TOMORROW I am so excited to start training at the Cockpit Theatre – renowned for teaching Meisner in London. Suffice to say, I am now a paid up cult member.
The focus of the Meisner approach is for the actor to “get out of their head”, such that the actor is reacting instinctively to the surrounding environment. To this end, some exercises for the Meisner technique are rooted in repetition – the words are deemed insignificant compared to the underlying emotion – there is a greater focus on the other actor as opposed to one’s internal thoughts or feelings.
The close focus on the other person forms the crux of the technique and is something that permeates beyond the rehearsal room, into real life – particularly in a very people orientated job like (you guessed it) recruitment! Meisner famously said “An ounce of behaviour is worth a pound of words” and this is as real for actors as it is for the candidates we interview – a breath in, a slight tilt of your head, a flicker of muscle around the jaw will tell us volumes about your feelings on your boss before you say a word about them – it’s body language illuminated in 3D technicolour, and it’s fascinating.
I hope this blog will be an introduction to a mini-series on Meisner and corporate communications- observe this space (carefully).