May 14th, 2010 at 05:49pm brian
I’m Boris Wilke and member of the Prague Playhouse Meisner acting group. I blog about our class activities.
Let me be short and concise again today!
In the last few weeks there were several incidents in class that led certain members to become slightly wary of the Meisner technique.
Some of the repetition exercises bordered on the insane, vicious or at least very insensitive.
While I am aware that that is mighty scary and leaves one unsatisfied, I must insist that this has very little to do with the technique. In fact, Brian rightly pointed out to me that the Meisner technique provides you with all the tools you need.
One example: I felt attacked and cornered once. My reaction was to withdraw into “critic mode” and to lament my partner had not played by the rules. (I was being Meisner-righteous. That’s an expression Tzvi came up with.)
But in fact, there are no rules, except this one: No physical violence.
So let me present you with a remedy to feeling bad about the technique: Be Meisneritious!
If somebody attacks you, call them on it: “You’re attacking me!” “You’re cornering me!” “You take pleasure in hunting me down!” etc.
If somebody calls on things that are not in the moment like: “You’re always so arrogant!” or “You dismiss everything I do!”, look at how they say it! Stay in the moment – at least you! Call them on the way they say it: “You are insistent!” “You are holding on to things!” “You don’t see me!” “You sound indignant!” “You are petulant!” etc.
Non-Meisner-like behavior should incite Meisneritiousness of the first order! Take it personal! Pinpoint your partner’s behavior! Don’t let them get away with it! But then drop it to be open for the next moment.
It takes two to tango. If one partner stumbles, help them by picking them up. In the Meisner-world that means, as always: Be honest, even if you think the truth will hurt! Have trust in your partner, no matter how he scares you! Feel free to react accordingly, though. There is always a door you can leave through!
I insist: Take things personal! Own them! Brian called that kind of taking things into your own hands selfish – I call it Meisneritious!
Please remember: The Meisner technique is supposed to help us broaden our palette of behavior, to act out the most outrageous states of mind.
One needs to let go of fear, rules, self-centeredness, false sensitivity.
Meisner is not for the faint-hearted. But it is for the Meisneritious!
And being Meisneritious means to me to fully make use of the technique. It is there to serve us, not the other way round!
Our acting class consists of some twelve new and not so new active members, who meet every Monday and Wednesday from 6.30 pm to about 9.30 at the Prague Film School. 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! Class will not convene in the week from May 17, neither the one from May 24. And due to Mark Wakeling’s weeklong seminar we also won’t have regular classes from June 7 through 11.
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 41-year-old, please leave a note!