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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