If you hang around base camp long enough, you’ll start to hear actors talking about the Meisner technique. It seems to have replaced Method acting as the go-to acting fad.
Near as I can tell, Meisner is a series of rehearsal practices designed to make the performer look like as big of an ass as possible. Things like rehearsing the scene, but only saying gibberish instead of actual dialogue, or playing a scene as the opposite gender.
Each technique seems crazier than the last. “I need seven bananas and a unicycle. I’m going to ride the unicycle around my trailer, juggling one-handed, while whistling my dialogue. It’s a Meisner technique.”
Or, “I need four copies of the script, one to balance on each hand and foot, while I’m standing on my head and saying only the pauses between words. It’s a Meisner thing.”
Or, “I need three pre-op transexual concubines. One will whisper the nouns into my right ear, the second will whisper verbs into my left, while the third goes down on me, spelling out the adjectives and adverbs with his/her tongue.”
“What about prepositions, articles, and conjunctions?”
“Oh, I already have a sea turtle, thanks.”
Method acting is basically remembering a time when you went through a similar emotional experience as the character, then trying to relive that when doing the scene. Or, if you’ve never done anything like the character, then going out and trying to experience life the way they lived it.
I’m pretty sure this is what we all thought acting was, anyway. I mean, you have to take classes for this? I think Meisner is an attempt to convince the rest of us that acting is more complicated than remembering your lines and playing pretend.
It’s a little bit overkill. You could say an electrician’s job is to plug in lights and point them at actors. While it’s technically true, everyone knows there’s way more to it than that.
The same is true of acting. Meisner is just overcompensating.