Last week I went to The Actor’s Temple in London, the top Meisner technique school in Europe and I was really impressed with what I saw. The students are of a high calibre, and the teachers really know what they are doing. I have been studying this techinque at the Prague Playhouse for nearly 2 years now and so I felt that it was time to make the trip to London and see what all the fuss was really about. The Meisner techinque sometimes gets a bad wrap because it is seen by some to be unncessarily emotional and over the top. But at The Actor’s Temple I saw how this technique really does make great actors. Indeed, the technique was created by Sanford Meisner who trained some of the best American actors, including James Dean.
At the Actor’s Temple, in a class with my teacher, Ron, the students were asked to check in with themselves. We discussed how we were feeling, and then there was no need for elaboration. Ron asked for the first two students to jump up in front and begin the class. What I love about The Actor’s Temple was that there is no mucking around. After all, acting is doing. So it makes sense to get stuck into the business of doing straight away. To be honest, I was intimated to start with, seeing the standard of the other actors. I also felt like I had dived in at the deep end. I wanted to be an ambassador for the Prague Playhouse Acting Studio. So when I first got up in front of the class and found myself with a complete stranger crying uncontrollably in my shoulder I felt eager to prove myself. But I was very blocked. It was just too much for me to handle. However, through the course of the class I got better and better. And in the end, I was not intimidated anymore and I felt like I was really being open.
It occurred to me, that to make a quantum leap, you need to first see what you are aiming for. Sometimes it pays to jump in at the deep end. Then you either sink or swim. You rise or you fall. Anything worth achieving is worth taking a risk for!