Meisner Technique

The 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 go moment to unanticipated moment, without an agenda, and hear exactly what is going on in your partner. Life teaches us to listen defensively, art demands that we don’t. In order to make real contact with our partner, and be totally present in the moment, we must listen without an agenda.

The Meisner technique is not a drop-in/ drop-out type of class. The technique is cumulative, so a person hoping to join in month three, not having arrived at that point organically, would be so confused by what’s happening in class, they’d be uncomfortable. A person can join a class that’s started three months ago, but not before they do the work to get caught up, which is completely up to their time constraints. So the optimal way to approach this is to start at the beginning and continue through the nine months and fully benefit from the process as Mr. Meisner built it.

Use PayPal for your refundable deposit of $50 to secure a place in class or pay a refundable $175 for the first month of classes. Contact us with any question about the Meisner class.

Applicants: we will call to arrange a brief interview. Acceptance is based on an interview only; there is no audition.

Meisner Class

The Meisner Technique

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Meisner technique is a complete course of study that produces instinctual and responsive actors. Generalities give way to specifics; understanding evolves into trust in 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.”

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

More About Meisner Technique

Sanford Meisner 1935

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.”

The Meisner Technique dates back to 1935 and the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where Sanford Meisner taught for 60 years and where he developed his “American approach” to acting.

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.

Course Syllabi

  • 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.

Contact us with any question about the Meisner class.