“Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.” -Alan Rickman
The belief that the majority of actors working in Hollywood have egos the size of Range Rover’s and brains the size of thimbles is often erroneous. While we cannot speak for the select few performers who use their fortunes on selfish gains, there is a vast majority of actors who use their platform of power and influence to promote positive changes in the world.
The world’s biggest stars like Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio have founded charities to help provide clean water in African countries, protect wildlife around the world and raise awareness for global climate change.
It is true that the influence of powerful actors can affect the way others view things and incite positive changes to our crumbling world. Nevertheless, not only do thespians humanitarian efforts inspire adjustments, but their influential work as an actor can spark change and influence future generations to be better people.
Films with great performances such as Philadephia, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show, Forrest Gump, Annie Hall and Life of Pi affected the way many people think, dress, speak and treat others.
It is an undeniable fact that a powerful performance from a great movie can change your life forever.
To inspire other human beings, the best actors complete many acting classes and learn about various acting techniques to hone their skills and be compelling at their craft. Superprof will now examine the Meisner acting technique and the actors who practise it to make an impact on the world of cinema, television and theatre.
The Neighbourhood Playhouse is considered the home of the Meisner technique. (Source: New Play Exchange)
“To be an interesting actor – hell, to be an interesting human being – you must be authentic and for you to ever be authentic you must embrace who you really are, warts and all. Do you have any idea how liberating it is to not care what people think about you? Well, that’s what we’re here to do.” -Sanford Meisner
Sanford Meisner who developed the Meisner method was born in 1905 and was well known as a theatre practitioner and acting coach. He broadened his technique after working with Lee Strasberg, pioneer of method acting, and Stella Adler at the Group Theatre in New York City.
After a few years with the Group Theatre, he moved on to join the faculty of The Neighbourhood Playhouse, and while working there, he perfected his technique. The Neighbourhood Playhouse, located on East 54th Street in NYC, is known as the home of the Meisner technique.
It is important to state that the Meisner technique is often confused with the Method since they both stem from techniques introduced by Konstantin Stanislavski, trailblazer of the System and Classical acting techniques.
Actors know the Meisner method as “truthful acting” since it is based on and emphasises correct behaviour and imagination. Many actors enjoy the Meisner technique, and in 1980, 17 years before Meisner’s death, a group of past alumni of the Meisner technique got together and directed a master class to preserve his invaluable methods for future generations.
The bottom line of Meisner’s technique is to get actors out of their head to behave instinctively with the surrounding environment. Sanford Meisner wanted actors to perform like real people instead of performers.
Improvisation is a fundamental element of the Meisner technique to keep acting truthful and spontaneous. (Source: TakeLessons.com)
Since every acting system is unique, there are various techniques included in each one. Budding actors should not be too rigid and focus only one acting technique. By keeping their options open and learning about many acting methods such as classical acting and Brechtian acting devices, young actors find the way that best suits their acting style.
The Meisner method is based on truth and here are a few components that make this technique different from the others:
The Meisner technique should be studied by all young thespians looking to make it big in the world of theatre, film or television.
As a result of the fact that the Meisner method is considered by many sources as being one of the most essential acting techniques, there are many institutes and vocational schools that offer the Meisner method for aspiring actors of all ages.
Here are some of the most reputable spots to study the Meisner method in the United Kingdom:
The United Kingdom has great institutes for acting courses. However, here are a few options for those who wish to study the acting methods of Meisner abroad:
All of the acting schools mentioned above specialise in the Meisner method and have the goal of making realistic acting more commonplace.
One of the most recognisable faces of an actor using the Meisner method is Diane Keaton who has ruled the screen for five decades. (Source: Visual Hunt)
“Take it from a director: if you get an actor that Sandy Meisner has trained, you’ve been blessed.” -Elia Kazan
If Elia Kazan, director of classic films such as A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, said it, it must be true!
Some of the most successful actors in the history of the cinema studied the Meisner technique. Here are some of the most famous performers who have considered the Meisner method:
Other famous performers who have implemented the Meisner technique in their acting style include old-Hollywood legends Grace Kelly and Gregory Peck, rising stars Amy Schumer and Timothée Chalamet, and audience favourites such as Tom Cruise and Jeff Goldblum.
Audiences usually adore actors who apply the Meisner technique all over the world for their authenticity and understanding of human nature. They rarely come across as phoney and rehearsed.
If you’re an aspiring actor wanting to bring truth to each performance, the Meisner technique is worthy of consideration and implementation. The performing arts are at their best when actors work hard to portray real-life characters with honesty and grace.