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Introduction to Sandford Meisner
Terms in this set (18)
When and where was Meisner born?
Sandford Meisner was born in 1905, in Brooklyn, New York.
How did Meisner begin his stage career in theatre?
He began his career in the Theatre Guild after an education in music at Damrosch Institute of Music.
Who is Harold Clurman?
Harold Edgar Clurman (September 18, 1901 - September 9, 1980) was an American theatre director and drama critic, "one of the most influential in the United States".He was most notable as one of the three founders of the New York City's Group Theatre (1931-1941). He directed more than 40 plays in his career and, during the 1950s, was nominated for a Tony Award as director for several productions. In addition to his directing career, he was drama critic for The New Republic (1948-52) and The Nation (1953-1980), helping shape American theater by writing about it. Clurman wrote seven books about the theatre, including his memoir The Fervent Years: The Group Theatre And The Thirties (1961).
Who is Lee Strasberg?
Lee Strasberg (born Israel Strassberg; November 17, 1901 - February 17, 1982) was an American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective". In 1951, he became director of the non-profit Actors Studio, in New York City, considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school". In 1969, Strasberg founded the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City and in Hollywood to teach the work he pioneered. He is considered the "father of method acting in America.
In 1931, Meisner became an original member of what theatre company?
The Group Theatre
As an actor for The Group Theatre Meisner achieved great success primarily in which of Odets' plays?
"Paradise Lost" and "Awake and Sing"
Who is Clifford Odets?
Clifford Odets (July 18, 1906 - August 14, 1963) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and director. He dropped out of high school after two years to become an actor. In 1931, he became a founding member of the Group Theatre, a highly influential New York theatre company that utilized an acting technique new to the United States. This technique was based on the system devised by the Russian actor and director Constantin Stanislavski. It was further developed by Group Theatre director Lee Strasberg and became known as The Method or Method Acting. Odets eventually became the Group's primary playwright.
Waiting for Lefty
Awake and Sing!
Along with Meisner, what other actors in The Group Theatre took issue with Lee Strasberg's use of "affective memory"?
Stella Adler and Robert Lewis
What is "affective memory"?
Affective memory was an early element of Stanislavski's 'system' and a central part of Method Acting, (two related approaches to acting). Affective memory requires actors to call on the memory of details from a similar situation (or more recently a situation with similar emotional import) to those of their characters. Stanislavski believed actors needed to take emotion and personality to the stage and call upon it when playing their character. He also explored the use of objectives, actioning, and empathizing with the character.
"Emotional recall" is the basis for Lee Strasberg's Method acting. "Sense memory" is used to refer to the recall of physical sensations surrounding emotional events (instead of the emotions themselves). The use of affective memory remains a controversial topic in acting theory. Otherwise known as emotional memory, it is often used by making the actors completely relax so that they recall the memory better.
Who is Stella Adler?
Stella Adler (February 10, 1901- December 21, 1992) was an American actress and an acclaimed acting teacher, who founded the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City (1949) and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in Los Angeles. She was an original member of The Group Theatre.
Who is Robert Lewis?
Robert Lewis (March 16, 1909 - November 23, 1997) was an American actor, director, teacher, author and founder of the influential Actors Studio in New York in 1947.
In addition to his accomplishments on Broadway and in Hollywood, Lewis' greatest and longest lasting contribution to American theater may be the role he played as one of the foremost acting and directing teachers of his day. He was an early proponent of the Stanislavski System of acting technique and a founding member of New York's revolutionary Group Theatre in the 1930s. In the 1970s, he was the Head of the Yale School of Drama Acting and Directing Departments.
Who is Stanislavski?
Constantin Sergeievich Stanislavski (Russian: Константи́н Серге́евич Станисла́вский, IPA: [kənstɐnʲˈtʲin sʲɪrˈgʲejɪvʲɪtɕ stənʲɪˈslafskʲɪj]; 17 January 1863 - 7 August 1938) was a Russian actor and theatre director. The Stanislavski System has had a pervasive influence, especially in the period after World War II.
Stanislavski treated theatre-making as a serious endeavour requiring dedication, discipline and integrity. Throughout his life, he subjected his own acting to a process of rigorous artistic self-analysis and reflection. His development of a theorized praxis—in which practice is used as a mode of inquiry and theory as a catalyst for creative development—he is one of the great modern theatre practitioners.
Where did Meisner become a "tenured" teacher?
The Neighborhood Playhouse school at 340 East 54th Street in New York City.
How does Meisner school of acting differ from the Adler school of acting?
Meisner felt that acting should come from the "heart" not from the intellect. Whereas Adler felt an actor's most important tool is his mind. Therefore doing a lot of research, script analysis and "paraphrasing" of the play to make it your own was important to her school of acting.
Why did Meisner favor "communion" over "affective memory"?
Meisner felt that "affective memory" made the actor focus on themselves instead of their scene partner. He felt the connection between scene partners was vital to the life of the scene. Therefore Meisner focused more on Stanislavski's system of "communion".
What is "communion" according to Stanislavski?
"If communication between persons is important in life, it is ten times more so on the stage."- Stanislavski from The Actor Prepares
This chapter talks about communication between the actors on stage (to each other) and the actors to the audience. The quote above sums up the chapter pretty well. I Communication is a hard thing to accomplish fully on the stage. Actors tend to become distracted a lot and get pulled out of their scenes; taking the audience with them. Actors are also known to imitate feelings, as opposed to trying to create their own.
According to Stanislavski, communion meant not only communication between scene partners but between the actor and himself. Meisner was more interested in it as it relates to scene partners.
What is Meisner's definition of "acting"?
Acting is "living truthfully under imagery circumstances".
What is the essential element of the Meisner Approach?
The "reality of doing" which means REALLY doing what you are DOING!
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