JFSA - Sanford Meisner

Sanford Meisner

The truth of ourselves is the root of our acting.”

Born August 31, 1905, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Sanford Meisner graduated form Erasmus Hall in 1923 and attended The Damrash Institute of Music (now Juilliard), where he studied to become a concert pianist before talking his way into a job in aTheater Guild production of Sidney Howard's They Knew What They Wanted. He realized then that acting was what he was looking to find.

In 1931, a fervent group of young actors, including Meisner, Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, and Harold Clurman, among others, joined together to establish the Group Theatre. It was the first permanent theatre company that brought "Method" acting, rooted in the methods of Konstantin Stanislavsky, to practice and prominence in America. Meisner appeared in twelve Group productions, including the first, The House of Connelly, and all of Clifford Odets' plays, including Waiting for Lefty, which Meisner co-directed with Odets in 1935.

Meisner had ongoing discussions about technique with Adler, who worked with Stanislavsky in Paris, and Clurman, who took a deep interest in the American character. Eventually Meisner realized that if American actors were ever going to achieve the goal of "living truthfully under imaginary circumstances," a new approach was needed.

The Neighborhood Playhouse provided him with a venue to develop that approach on his own. He headed the Drama Department at The Playhouse and after years of working with actors, he developed "The Meisner Technique".

Sanford Meisner was considered one of the greatest acting teachers of the 20th century. Through the years Sanford Meisner taught thousands of actors. The amount of accomplished professional actors he trained is immense. His technique is still taught all over the world today.

Arthur Miller once said of Meisner, "He has been the most principled teacher of acting in this country for decades now, and every time I am reading actors I can pretty well tell which ones have studied with Meisner. It is because they are honest and simple and don't lay on complications that aren't necessary."

Sanford Meisner died on February 2, 1997.

Make a Free Website with Yola.