What is it all about?
How to bring More Truth, More Aliveness and More Spontaneity To Your Work?
Observing and responding
Acting, improvising is all about observing and responding. For Improvisers, you can’t make a proposition, you can’t take the story forward, you can’t say ”what happens next” if you don’t know what’s really happening right now. (Unfortunately the audience invariably does know cf Keith Johnstone)
So how do we work on that?
The Meisner Technique is a series of exercises designed not only to focus your attention onto your playing partner but to also actually increase you powers of attention.
Meisner’s intention was to shift your focus from yourself and simultaneously put you in the present moment.
I think this is the basis for all good acting and all good improvisation. Now obviously, that is a banal statement that I’m sure everyone, actor, improviser or teacher agrees with.
What makes the Meisner and techniques cool and so useful?
Those specifically conceived exercises give us a concrete definition of what the moment is and how to be in it. It changes what seemed like an abstract unreachable idea in a rehearsal room into something tangible, concrete, achievable.
Now that’s not the whole story:
Later, there’s another set of exercises that help you to understand what it means to live in the given circumstances provided by the text/ the set up or the format and/or your director.For these we draw on the work of Meisner , Chubbuck , Johnstone etc to create personal links to the texts / given circumstances , understanding them from a visceral point of view.
So you can learn to observe and respond within the framework of the story.
All of this happens in a pedagogically coherent manner like learning to play an instrument or learning a language.
In my experience this technique will help you to see better and respond more truthfully and spontaneously on stage all from what is really going on with your partner.
Why not comedown and see if it works for you ?