Repeat repeat repeat! And, repeat some more!
I realized I haven’t talked much about my on-going Meisner training. So consider this my first post (of many) that will document my journey. Game? Good!
I’ll keep it brief. Meisner is a foundational technique in that all the exercises are built on each other, layer by layer and are designed to get the actor out of their head. To be more immediate, present, real. In so little words, the technique can be summed up with, “Acting is living truthfully; under imaginary circumstances.”
I’m taking my classes with the BAY AREA ACTING STUDIO –and so far it’s been going great. There’s a varying degree of challenge that presents itself every week.
It's a great little space --easy to miss, but difficult to forget.
At the core of the training is an exercise that requires repetition. It’s hard to explain but an excerpt from an article says:
“where one person spontaneously makes a comment based on his or her partner, and the comment is repeated back and forth between the two actors in the same manner, until it changes on its own. The object is always to react truthfully, allowing the repetition to change naturally rather than by manipulation.”
And that’s pretty much it. Harder to do than you think! I laughed thinking that, when I took my first acting class, my instructor at the time, Betty Burdick, actually introduced this exercise in our class. She taught it briefly, and now I realize she was testing the waters with her students. Boy, what I’d give to repeat with her now.
Anyway, I had a really engaging class last Sunday and our latest exercise requires us to bring along an independent activity. The purpose of this exercise is to further train us to get out of our minds. This is accomplished by doing an activity that has three main components:
Urgency (the task must be completed within a certain time limit).
Must be important to the doer–or relate to him/her personally.
Difficult to accomplish.
With those three components, one then goes into their activity with a flurry while another actor is introduced into the scene and starts the repetition exercise with the person attempting to complete their activity. Do you see where this is is going? Great! That’s it for now–I’ve got some notes I’d like to share, for anyone interested.
A repetition exercise about to begin...