**Workshop 1 — Foundation of Meisner Technique**
Monday, August 27 — Friday, August 31
6:00pm — 10:00pm (18:00 — 22:00)
To be announced — Berlin
Strictly Limited Places: Maximum 14 Actors
(Suitable for both those with or without previous Meisner training)
**EARLY BIRD SPECIAL**
€300: Early Bird price — if booked by August 6th
€350: Regular price
To book/more info: [email protected]
WhatsApp Only: +49 176 590 66 345 — Lucia Maenz (Organizer)
Visit Steven's website Meisner International
for full Summer 2018 European schedule, testimonials, photo's, interviews and more.
-Meisner Intensive Acting Workshop 1 with Steven Ditmyer-
(Foundation of Meisner Technique)
This workshop offers a foundation of the Meisner Technique, which was developed by Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City where he taught for more than 50 years – and where I had the privilege of being one of his students 27 years ago.
In his work at the Playhouse, Meisner trained many of our most distinguished actors and directors, including Robert Duvall, Sydney Pollack, Tony Randall, Christopher Lloyd, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Gregory Peck, Joanne Woodward, Steve McQueen, Jeff Goldblum, Allison Janney and many more.
This technique is based on truth. Meisner said, “Acting is the ability to live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.”
We will be working on –“the ability to live truthfully,” by using the repetition exercise, which is an improvisational exercise that teaches you to focus on your partner and if you really focus, you will start to really respond. TRUTHFULLY. And that’s what we are after, the truthful response, not the “this-is-what-I’m-suppose-to-say,” response (from the brain) but this is the TRUE thing to say because this is how the other person is making me feel right now.
It’s an amazing exercise because it’s simple and honest. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.
In this approach our emotions come freely, as a side benefit, a gift, when our attention is on something else – and that something else is what we are doing. Really listening, really working off our fellow actors and being in response to what is happening. Following our impulses from one unanticipated moment to the next unanticipated moment. Meisner told us “The seed to the craft of acting is the reality of doing. This principle: The Reality of Doing (really doing) is the foundation of all good acting.”
Then on the last day of the workshop we will use text in the exercise (a short scene the actors will have memorized) to show how far your impulses can take you in your acting when you truly listen and work off your partner and not from your head.
I love this work because it is a very healthy approach to the craft of acting. The work is grounded in who we are today and what our past experiences mean to us now!
There are many acting techniques and the ones that are valid will help you arrive at the one ultimate truth, your truth. The work we will do together will lead you to acting with a deep personal meaning, a wonderful simplicity and to a level of working where technique disappears and what remains, is you in your acting.
This workshop will help all those who are interested in theatre, film and TV – actors, directors, writers…everyone. I can’t wait for you to discover this work!
Founder, Meisner International
Steven is an Actor, Director and Acting Teacher who studied with Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen and Zoe Caldwell. He is a graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City where he later was invited to train as a teacher of the Meisner technique.
In addition to being a guest teacher at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City he is the founder of MEISNER INTERNATIONAL currently teaching workshops in New York, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Helsinki, Tallinn, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Quito, Guayaquil, and Bogota with new workshops starting in Berlin, Dubrovnik, Vilnius and Buenos Aires.
As an actor, Steven worked with many great artists such as Al Pacino, Arthur Miller, Tony Randall, Ron Rifkin, Sam Waterston, Diane Wiest, Blythe Danner and more.
As a Director, he directed the OFF THE PAGE Reading Series for Tony Randall’s National Actors Theatre in NYC (2005-2008) with such notable productions as: The Night Of The Iguana with Alec Baldwin, Golf with Alan Shepard with Jack Klugman, Charles Durning, Len Cariou and John Cullum and Ladies In Retirement with Rosemarry Harris. He has directed many prodcudtions in New York working with such notable playwrights as Robert Askins, James McClure, Bruce Jay Friedman, Albert Bermel, Jack Gilhooley, Gail Sheehy and with notable actors as Marian Seldes, Brian Murray, Dana Ivey, John Pankow, Richard Bey, Brian Geraghty and many more. Steven was the Co-Director of the Workshop at the Neighborhood Playhouse (1999-2003) where he directed over 20 new plays and was the Artistic Director of the Neighborhood Theatre Company in Naples, Florida (2003-2005) where he directed his wife in The Syringa Tree. He was a Founding director of the A-Train Plays in NYC (written and performed in 24 hours) where he directed The Casseroles of Far Rockaway by Seth Bauer – winner of the 2004 Samuel French Festival. Steven will be directing Exit The King by Eugene Ionesco in Italian opening in Rome 2019.
He is married to actress Tamara Flannagan and resides in Manhattan with their two boys Callan and Jace.
History of the Meisner Technique.
In the 1930s, Sanford Meisner was an actor in the Group Theatre, the most important repertory theatre in modern American History, which spawned the major American acting teachers, and several of the most important playwrights and directors of the 20th century. Meisner and his fellow actor Stella Adler fell out with their director Lee Strasberg over his use of Emotional Recall, a technique in which the actor used personal emotion from his own past memories to feed the acting process. Meisner and Adler chose to use the imagination to stimulate emotion and involvement in a play's imaginary circumstances. Both Strasberg's and Meisner and Adler's techniques came out of the work of Konstantin Stanislavski in Russia, but they differed on which parts of his work was most important to the actor's work and training. The Group Theatre broke up partially because of the conflict over these techniques. Meisner, Adler and Strasberg all went on to become acting teachers who had a profound influence on American acting and culture, as well as a strong influence on European acting.
At the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, Meisner created a full-blown acting technique which would train an actor to create all the layers of a complete performance over a two year period. It was, and still is, one of the most systematic and complete acting techniques in the Western world. Meisner's work was based on the principle that acting found its most profound expression in specific behavior that came out of the actor's real human response to circumstances and other people. The technique is based on truth. Meisner said “Acting is the ability to live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.” Because of this, his entire training method relied heavily on accessing the actor's impulses, through which real responses and real behavior were accessed in the moment. This technique was not only applied to improvisation with another person, but also to the actor's way of finding things to do in rehearsal, interpreting a script, and creating the specific physical characteristics of each character the actor played.
The basic exercise that Meisner invented to train the actor's responses is called the Repetition Exercise. In this exercise, two actors stand across from each other and respond to each other through a repeated phrase. The phrase is about each other's behavior, and reflects what is going on between them in the moment, such as «You look unhappy with me right now.» The way this phrase is said as it is repeated changes in meaning, tone and intensity to correspond with the behavior that each actor produces towards the other. Through this device, the actor stops thinking of what to say and do, and responds more freely and spontaneously, both physically and vocally. The exercise also eliminates line readings, since the way the actor speaks becomes coordinated with his behavioral response. As the exercise continues over a period of months, more detailed imaginary circumstances are added to the exercise, and it gradually becomes a kind of improvised scene. When this is fully developed, the actors are ready to start working with actual scripts. The course gradually makes its way through more complex script material and work on creating characters incorporating all the student's training.