Two Year Acting Program | Meisner Training First Year Class | 917-789-1599
Two Year Acting Program
Meisner Training First Year Acting Class
Acting I and II comprise the nine months of Sanford Meisner’s first year technique. The goal of the first year training is to develop a truthful acting instrument, where all fundamentals of the art form are second nature to the actor. Beginning with a simple repetition exercise, Meisner’s brilliant technique, when taught properly, evolves over nine months into a very deep, rich, and sophisticated, improvisational exercise. Untrained actors are bad and not respected professionally for a number of reasons; their attention is on themselves, they wait for their cues, cannot respond spontaneously from moment to moment, think squeezing out emotion is a good thing, are riddled with physical and vocal tension, indicate behavior, don’t listen, and can’t craft. Meisner’s first year solves these problems along with many others.
Picasso said “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up.” All of us have been parented, socialized, and educated. This is necessary to lead a healthy and productive life in society, but it is not helpful for the artist. First year chips away at the defenses and insecurities that have taken decades to develop. Whether its a fear of anger, feeling unworthy of joy, an aversion to conflict, a need to function as peacemaker, or the notion that you are not entitled to your feelings, these issues all contribute to hindering artistic development. Our students will not only confront these issues, but solve them in a safe, nurturing environment. The actor will learn how to listen and respond personally, how to get the placement of concentration off of themselves, will discover how to return to their impulsive child-like spontaneity, learn how to craft in a simple, specific and personal way, harness their ability to daydream and fantasize in order to emotionally prepare offstage, while also finding the courage and ease to function from all sides of their temperament. This is the work that puts a serious actor on the road to being an exceptional artist.
Meisner understood however, that his exercise work would be of no value if the actor could not apply what they have learned to scenes. Text is, ultimately, the actor’s playground. As Mesiner taught and intended, we will also, at three different points during first year, take where we are in the exercise and apply that work organically to scenes. Students will do three rounds of scenes in first year, with each round challenging the actor to apply these important fundamentals to text. Compelling actors know how to improvise freely with a script, and understand the freedom and vivid behavior that can be created through spontaneous improvisation. Bad actors do line readings and can offer nothing more than conventional, cookie-cutter interpretations from their own pedestrian behavior.
Meisner’s first year technique, and the work at our studio, will train the actor to break from these bad habits, producing a truthful, clear and fundamentally sound actor capable of creating vivid experiential behavior, consistently.
Maggie Flanigan Studio
153 W 27th St #803
New York, NY 10001
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