“Life teaches us to listen defensively, art demands that we don’t.”

Meisner Technique Training

markusThe Meisner Technique is a two-year professional training for both serious actors and those who want to become better authentic listeners. The Meisner technique is ‘listening based.’ Using the technique that Sanford Meisner pioneered, you will learn to listen a moment at a time, without an agenda, to hear exactly what is going on in your partner. Life teaches us to listen defensively, art demands that we don’t.

One can use standard principles and textbooks in educating people for law, medicine, architecture, chemistry or almost any other profession – but not for the theater. – Sanford Meisner

This is a a complete course of study that produces instinctual and responsive actors. Generalities give way to specifics; understanding evolves into trusting your partner; and instincts guide you toward clearer communications. It has become known around the world for teaching actors to be truthful in the “reality of doing” the work.

You Will Improve Your Communication Skills

Sanford Meisner 1935The Meisner Technique dates back to 1935 and the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where Sanford Meisner taught for 50 years and where he developed his “American approach” to acting.

Where the British theater favored an external acting technique and the Russian theater was grounded in an internal approach, Meisner instead focused on finding the “core truth” of the performance, or “living truthfully under the imaginary circumstances.”

Meisner’s technique is not simply about learning your lines and running the scenes; it is about communication. “One can use standard principles and textbooks in educating people for law, medicine, architecture, chemistry or almost any other profession,” Meisner said. “But not for the theater. I came to realize how I teach is determined by the gradual development of each student.”

At the Westlake Acting Studio, Markus Flanagan teaches the technique the way he learned it from Mr. Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Accordingly the class follows the same two-year format.

  • First year focuses on the fundamental training of the actor through extensive improvisational exercises – namely “repetition” in which the actor’s attention is focused upon his or her partner’s behavior. Students will learn to stay focused and learn to allow themselves to behave truthfully in this imaginary circumstance. After eight months a more honest actor emerges with a unique instrument honed to behave ‘truthfully’ in the theatrical sense.
  • Second year uses the basis of listening and answering, living truthfully, and doing things with reality learned in the first year and adds to it character building elements that fill out the use of the first year with the layers that lead to full understanding of the character you wish to portray.

More About Meisner Class

Meisner Technique class meets one night per week from 6-10 pm. The cost is $250 per month. The course lasts 9 months from September to May. It is not a drop-in-and-drop-out class. The technique is cumulative. You must start in September and continue through all 9 months to benefit.

Register for our first year Meisner training or our Meisner Intensive using Paypal at the top right corner of this page. We will call to arrange a brief interview. Acceptance is based on an interview only; there is no audition.

Master Class

Do you think that auditioning every day with the techniques that you learned in class keeps you supple as a professional? Not quite! Auditioning isn’t acting because it is no substitute for the rigors of character preparation and scene work.

That’s why we created our Master Class for the graduates of Westlake Acting Studio (or any other program) who want to stay vital as actors. In Master class you will refresh your skills by doing exercises, scenes and even improv. You will challenge yourself and be challenged. Unlike our structured classes, come and go to with our Master Class as you wish.

Scenes usually take 4-6 weeks to be prepared and realized. And you can work on more than one scene at a time (if partners are available; partners are chosen in class). Last year, each Master Class participant completed an average of four scenes. Scenes can be brought into class or assigned. The only caveat: you must complete any scene that you start in the Master Class.

Master Class meets Mondays from 6pm until 10 pm. Tuition is just $150 per month – the best professional preparation bargain you will find. If you are interested to join our Master Class, then please email me and we’ll get you enrolled.