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Sanford Meisner (1905-1997), together with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, is generally regarded as one of America's most brilliant acting teachers. The Meisner Technique is one of the most popular acting techniques being taught and practiced today.
Meisner aimed to break an actor's dependence on easy tricks and to get him to respond truthfully to a given moment. He taught that a performer's attention should remain on his partner — on what the partner is saying and doing — and not on what he himself is preparing to say or do. The result: a far less self-conscious performance that resonates with authenticity.
The Meisner Technique owes a debt to the great Russian acting teacher, Constantin Stanislavski, who steered his students away from the stiff and affected acting that was common in his day. The interdependent series of exercises developed by Meisner expand on Stanislavski's teachings. Each exercise builds on the earlier ones and increases in complexity. Improvisation, emotional truth, and an actor's personal response to the script are all important aspects of this approach.