The Actor’s Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique

August 29, 2019 - Comment

William Esper, one of the leading acting teachers of our time, explains and extends Sanford Meisner’s legendary technique, offering a clear, concrete, step-by-step approach to becoming a truly creative actor.Esper worked closely with Meisner for seventeen years and has spent decades developing his famous program for actor’s training. The result is a rigorous system of

William Esper, one of the leading acting teachers of our time, explains and extends Sanford Meisner’s legendary technique, offering a clear, concrete, step-by-step approach to becoming a truly creative actor.Esper worked closely with Meisner for seventeen years and has spent decades developing his famous program for actor’s training. The result is a rigorous system of exercises that builds a solid foundation of acting skills from the ground up, and that is flexible enough to be applied to any challenge an actor faces, from soap operas to Shakespeare. Co-writer Damon DiMarco, a former student of Esper’s, spent over a year observing his mentor teaching first-year acting students. In this book he recreates that experience for us, allowing us to see how the progression of exercises works in practice. The Actor’s Art and Craft vividly demonstrates that good training does not constrain actors’ instincts—it frees them to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.

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Comments

Anonymous says:

Useful for Classroom Setting Only In my journeys researching the different acting techniques, trying them out, and weighing the pros and cons, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Meisner Technique is most useful in a classroom setting, or in certain theater pieces that are performed once, live. Adding the unpredictable, unanticipated, unplanned Meisner approach is often engaging, but just as often falls flat. And if you need to do repeat takes, as for a film, forget it. Good luck duplicating what you just did. Everything you…

Anonymous says:

Clear and Engaging As an actor I’m always interested in reading good books on the craft of acting, learning about different techniques, and seeking ways to improve my work. The last word, “improve”, is perhaps the most difficult to quantify as that improvement necessitates both an objective method of judgement and a standard toward which “improvement” can be made (something that might seem fairly hard to come by when discussing the arts, and perhaps most especially the art and craft of the actor)…

Anonymous says:

Engrossing, inspiring, full of humanity This book came around at a strange time in my life…which I suppose is still happening. Although I was never part of the BFA or MFA program at Rutgers, I did take a few acting classes there as well as get involved in some college theatre. Bill Esper was an icon even back then but I completely took for granted what it is he did and more importantly, who he is. Since getting out and pounding the pavement for some real work, I’ve had moments of brilliance, some of which has garnered me a handful…

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