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Sanford Meisner has been called "the theater's best-kept secret," and Sanford Meisner on Acting by Dennis
Longwell gives some insight into what techniques the hugely influential drama teacher used in his 50-plus years of work.
One of the founding members of the Actors Studio (with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and Harold Clurman), Meisner
developed his own special lessons based upon his understandings of the great Russian teacher Stanislavsky. Turning away
from the sense-memory exercises common among his colleagues, his training focused instead on a realistic approach to
imagination and creativity. Unlike many other educators associated with "the Method," Meisner had little tolerance for
self-absorption or striving after strong emotional effect, instead preaching that clarity of purpose and efficient use
of the psyche are the actor's greatest tools. Longwell's book follows a class of eight men and eight women through one
of Meisner's 15-month courses at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse, with extensive transcripts taken directly from
Meisner's notes to the students on the basis of their exercises. With an introduction by director Sydney Pollack, one of
the many influential artists who studied with Meisner (the book includes accolades from Maureen Stapleton, Arthur
Miller, Gregory Peck, and Eli Wallach), this is an excellent introduction that helps to demystify the work of a great
theatrical teacher. --John Longenbaugh
From Library Journal
Meisner, a member of the Theater Guild and the Group Theater, has devoted most of 50 years to teaching
acting and is one of the great unsung resources in American theater. This book is not an acting text, but a journal of a
15-month course taken by 16 adult actors. We follow them as they progress from early exercises through preparation to
detailed scene work. Meisner emphasizes emotional truth and acting as the reality of doing. His students find the course
difficult, but most improve markedly. Not all survive. Though Meisner is not well, he is a superb teacher and his
enthusiasm is undiminished. This is required reading for all actors and those interested in acting. Thomas E. Luddy,
English Dept., Salem State Coll., Mass.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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