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Sanford Meisner

Sanford Meisner developed this unique approach in the 1930s, after working with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler at The Group Theatre. Like Stanislavski, Strasberg, and Adler before him, Meisner taught his students to “live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.” His approach is an imminently practical one; his famous repetition exercise, in which two actors sit opposite each other and respond in the moment with a repeated phrase, breaks down overly structured technique and builds openness, flexibility, and listening skills. Meisner joined the faculty of New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse in 1935, and went on to train thousands of actors in his organic technique.

Richard believes Meisner's techniques supplement well the more mental techniques like Practical Aesthetics and Adler. Through exercises like repetition, the actor will be challenged to have their creativity provoked by fine attention to their fellow actor(s) to create a visible tension.

 

Famous Meisner students include Robert Duvall, Grace Kelly, Gregory Peck, and Diane Keaton. As Elia Kazan once said, “Take it from a director: if you get an actor that Sandy Meisner has trained, you’ve been blessed.”

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