Meisner Acting Class Blog about the weekend workshop with Mark Wakeling from the “Actors’ Temple” in London

November 29th, 2009 at 11:35pm brian

Hi everyone!

I’m Boris Wilke and member of the Prague Playhouse Meisner acting group. I blog about our class activities.

In this entry I will shut up for once and let Mark Wakeling speak. His workshop (November 28 and 29, 2009) in the attic of the Prague Film School was a life changing experience. After that “Meisner earthquake” the lame exercises we’ve been doing lately in and out of class just don’t cut it any more!

Click on the “CLASSES” button above and then choose “ACTING FOR PROFESSIONALS” to read more about the class itself and where we meet!

This is some of Mark’s wisdom:

To act means to do.

Apart form violence there are no rules.

The intellectual mind switches on when preparing for the acting. The emotional mind switches on when acting.

We’re animals in our impulsive state. And acting means being in our impulsive state.

The only two pure feelings are joy and grief.

More Mark Wakeling quotes:

The seed of the craft of acting is the reality of doing.

We tend to think that the aim of the repetition exercise is “getting it right”. That is irrelevant, though.

What we need to do is to put all our attention on our partner and off ourselves.

The faith to put all your attention on your partner is something that takes about 20 years to build.

Ultimately there is no Meisner technique apart from putting all of your attention on your partner and accepting them the way they are.

Love is acceptance. Thus acting is the most loving experience.

The only thing that exists is the doing it.

Be in the moment! Use all your senses!

Holding hands is a valid form of connection.

Be in the exercise from the very moment it starts. No preparing for it!

Acting is the most perfect way of really living your life. Look at it as a way of being yourself!

The most loving thing is to be brutally honest with your partner. The most terrible thing is to be polite to them.

Be prepared to go in the exercise with everything you got – with the risk of falling flat on your face.

Get into the exercise with a warrior spirit, like being in a battle for life and death.

All the problems you have, are imaginary. Everything that’s holding you back is not real!

Be yourself! The moment you hold back, you’re denying your partner an experience.  You can be 100% you! That is welcomed, even embraced!

Notice how your partner is instead of protecting them from it!

Go all the way! Don’t be the dumbed-down polite little version of yourself that you were deformed into by society! This is all or nothing!

Have an experience other than you’re used to!

You can’t get “good” at the repetition exercise: You can only get honest. It’s as simple as that. Then it’s unique every moment –  a deeply profound experience.

You either commit to it 100% or you better not bother doing it at all!

What is real, is what’s happening right now. Everything else is not real.

We spend most of our lives, living in an unreal state. We worry about stuff that’s over or yet to come.

The personas we have developed to protect ourselves are not real.

The genius of the repetition exercise is that it makes you real.

Nobody cares! No offense meant! So you can let it all out in order to unlock yourself. If you “clear the decks” then you have this wonderful range.

Getting connected is effortless. You just have to use your senses.

You actually help your partner by being ruthlessly honest. There is nothing you can’t say. An actor has to muster the courage to face up with what is really happening.

Every time you say something is another moment. Go further with it. Pursue the moment! Go after your call until you get something!

Fighting one another might be interesting to watch. But it is not real. Anger is an unnecessary state. It’s just avoiding to acknowledge the sadness one really feels deep down.

Being yourself is about being yourself completely.

Avoid falling into an “emotional trap”! When you start to have a strong feeling, don’t retreat into yourself! Keep on placing all of your attention on your partner!  Acting is not about getting emotional.

Nothing needs to happen. Just connect with your partner!

Who are we? It’s what we are feeling right now.

Trying to control your feelings is a problem.

Be pathetic and weak! Yeah! That takes real courage!

Hypersensitivity is a good thing. Doing this work properly will make you notice a pin dropping. And it should!

Putting all your attention on your partner means becoming unselfconscious.

In acting positive thinking is limiting. You need to be ready for bad things as well. Be truthful! You might be ugly. You might be terrible. But that’s great! Where else can you let everything out?

Be normal with each other! Just name it as it is! But be there for one another! Being in the moment is absolutely fine. It’s perfect!

There is no “I don’t know”!

We are only confused about things we don’t want to admit.

All that matters is your opinion, right now!

To pretend to be someone else to other people than you are, is really horrible! It’s insane to deny yourself!

Meisner work is not therapy. You only do it because you want to be an actor. This is not a game.

Showing that we’re all the same underneath is the actor’s job.


Mark came all the way from London to teach us because he truly believes that the way acting is generally perceived must change. He’s doing everything to make this change happen. And so should we!

Let me finish by a thing Brian said: “There is so much work ahead of us!”

Oh yes, it is! And that’s great!


General stuff:

Our acting class consists of some fifteen new and not so new active members, who meet every Monday and Wednesday from 6.30 pm to about 8.30. We do Meisner. And the Meisner-technique really rocks!

If you want to connect with your inmost feelings, expressing them freely in an acting environment and thus getting to know yourself better and better, feel free to join us! If you do, be prepared for some serious thrills!



About the author:

I am Boris Wilke, a German expat in Prague.

I am a writer at large and have been studying Meisner since January 2008. If any of you know of any kind of acting work that befits a laddish, tall 40-year-old, please leave a note!


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