This unit is meant to be an introductory crash course in Meisner techniques that are targeted to younger students. It serves as an overview and a “dip in the pool” of what Meisner is about. Many times, students don’t get past the initial repetition exercises; this unit goes a couple steps beyond so that students can begin to get a true taste of the nature of Meisner training.

We are skipping many steps of Meisner training to get to some actual scene and monologue work using the basics of what preliminary Meisner work can open up for your actors. Going through this unit will give your students a good grounding in acting in the moment and playing off one’s partner as well as more confidence in trusting their impulses.

This unit has been adapted for teaching in a virtual environment.

Overview

The overview lays out the structure of the unit, including lesson format, activity choice, materials and assessment. It also includes setup for virtual teaching.

1: Truth and Spontaneity

Students will make discoveries about truth in acting. They will also do some exercises where they must make a spontaneous rather than a preplanned response for the exercise to be successful.

2: What is Meisner About?

Students will start the process of letting go of their need to control the moment and learn to let moments happen. They will also learn the central ideas of what Meisner training is about.

3: Repetition Class

Students will continue to use repetition exercises to learn how to be present and work off their partner. They will begin to “tune” to identifying the reactions of others.

4: Repetition Review and Activity Prep

Students will use repetition to start working off of one another. This time, they will add observations of each other’s behavior. They will learn about how to select an activity for the next step of acting work. Adding activities will help students practice the duality of reacting and doing at the same time.

5: Really Doing What You're Doing

Students will do some improvisations with repetition and activities in order to practice the duality of reacting and doing at the same time.

6: Preparation

Students will learn some Meisner-based techniques for preparing for acting monologues and scenes.

7: Meisner Scene Workshop

Students will put their preparation together with fully doing an activity and playing off their partner in scenework.

Standards Addressed

National Core Arts Standards


Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 7

TH:Pr4.1.7.b - Use various character objectives in a drama/theatre work.

Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 8

TH:Pr4.1.8.b - Use various character objectives and tactics in a drama/theatre work to overcome an obstacle.

Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr4.1.HSI.b - Shape character choices using given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 6

TH:Pr5.1.6.a - Recognize how acting exercises and techniques can be applied to a drama/theatre work.

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 8

TH:Pr5.1.8.a - Use a variety of acting techniques to increase skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Pr5.1.HSII.a - Refine a range of acting skills to build a believable and sustainable drama/theatre performance.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 6

TH:Cr3.1.6.a - Articulate and examine choices to refine a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 7

TH:Pr6.1.7.a - Participate in rehearsals for a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 8

TH:Pr6.1.8.a - Perform a rehearsed drama/theatre work for an audience.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Cr3.1.HSI.b - Explore physical, vocal and physiological choices to develop a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant to a drama/theatre work.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr6.1.HSI.a - Perform a scripted drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

California VAPA Standards (2019)


7.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

7.TH:Pr4.b - Use various character objectives in a drama/theatre work.

8.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

8.TH:Pr4.b - Use various character objectives and tactics in a drama/theatre work to overcome an obstacle.

Prof.TH:Pr4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

Prof.TH:Pr4.b - Shape character choices using given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.

6.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

6.TH:Pr5.a - Recognize how acting exercises and techniques can be applied to a drama/theatre work.

8.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

8.TH:Pr5.a - Use a variety of acting techniques to increase skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.

Acc.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Acc.TH:Pr5.a - Refine a range of acting skills to build a believable and sustainable drama/theatre performance.

7.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

67TH:Pr6 - Create through improvisation a drama/theatre work that will be shared with an audience.

8.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

8.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted scene from a drama/theatre work for an audience.

Prof.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

Prof.TH:Pr6 - Perform a rehearsed, scripted short drama/theatre work for a specific audience.

Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts


North Carolina Essential Standards


Advanced High School Standards - Communication

A.C.2.2 - Interpret scripts through formal and informal presentations.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts


MS 117.211 LI - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.A - develop characterization based on sensory and emotional recall.

HS 117.316 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.C - demonstrate effective voice and diction.

Alberta, Canada


Theatre Studies Level III - Advanced (The script)

12 - analyze a script to identify character, setting and plot

British Columbia (2018)


GRADE 6 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting

Take creative risks to express feelings, ideas, and experiences

GRADE 7 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting

Take creative risks to express feelings, ideas, and experiences

GRADE 8 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting

Take creative risks to express feelings, ideas, and experiences

GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Connecting and expanding

Demonstrate respect for themselves, others, and the audience

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and the audience

GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Reason and reflect

Demonstrate awareness of self, others, and audience

GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate awareness of self, others, and audience

GRADE 12 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and audience