Title

A Showcase of Sanford Meisner's Acting Theory: An Experimentation

Date of Award

5-1-1997

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Theatre Arts

Abstract

Sanford Meisner's theories of acting are based upon his belief thaf good acting is defined by "living truthfully under imaginary' circumstances" (Meisner 15). However, it seems that his theories are more appropriately applied to realistic texts. In my project I explored the use of Meisner's acting techniques in a non-realistic text, Fickv Stingers, written by Eve Lewis, which 1 directed in a rehearsal process with an ensemble of four actors. This work resulted in a showcase of our work together on February 23, and 24, 1997. In Lewis' play she examines the power relations which encompass the issue of rape.

Lewis' text seemed sufficiently removed from realism to allow for an effective testing of Meisner's theories on a non-realistic text. Realism is defined by drama critic Patricia Schroeder to include three components: "chronological plot, familiar characters, and conventional dialogue" (Schroeder 104). Fickv Stingers does not comply with Schrader's guidelines as the text is non-linear, character relationships are unspecified, and dialogue is comprised of monologues interspersed with random conversation.

Actual testing of Meisner's theories occurred while rehearsing Lewis' play. In addition to a discussion of Meisner's acting theory, the following study documents the results of applying Meisner techniques in the rehearsal process, and my assessment of the viability of my work with Meisner's theories. The document is organized in three chapters: Chapter One explains Meisner's methodology, Chapter Two describes rehearsal work, and Chapter Three is an assessment of the experiment.

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