The Meisner Technique

Sandford Meisner is an American Actor who developed a technique centered on get out of your head and responding instinctively in the moment to the surrounding environment. It's less about the words and more about the emotional connection. Meisner's technique also focuses on interacting with the other actor as opposed to focusing on what is going on in the actor's head. Meisner's method of accomplishing this technique is fostered mostly by repetition. One of his most popular exercises is The Mirror Exercise.

In this exercise, two actors face one another sitting or standing and one actor makes a gesture and the other actor mimics the gesture. The purpose of this exercise is to engage and respond with your acting partner in the present moment.

A similar exercise is having two actors sit facing one another. One actor makes an observation about the other actor and the partnering actor repeats the statement. For example, one actor may state, "you have brown eyes." The partnering actor will repeat, "I have brown eyes." They will continue back and forth. The purpose of this exercise is to connect with one another by observing and actively listening. It is important not to be judgmental. A statement such as, "you look tired," is not befitting as the key to the exercise is to listen and respond, not offend. Try either of these with any of your fellow actors.


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