On Wednesday, January 6th the Maggie Flanigan Studio will once again be launching its Meisner 18 month acting program, accelerated training in the Meisner technique. This January marks the launch of Part 1, which runs for ten weeks. These sessions incorporate the first third of Meisner training in the same that is offered in the studio’s full two-year conservatory acting program.
Kick off the New Year by joining an accelerated 18-month training program, a Meisner acting program designed for professional actors and serious students. Classes will meet on Wednesdays from 6pm-9pm and on Saturdays from 11am-2pm, for 10 weeks.
Challenge yourself, sharpen foundational skills and refocusing after the long pause caused by the pandemic.
18-Month Acting Program Overview
The Meisner 18-month acting program with Maggie Flanigan Studio begins with a critical first 10 weeks of training. Master instructor Karen Chamberlain guides actors through the first third of Sanford Meisner’s first-year, with the structure and progression that matches the two-year program offered at the acting studio.
Twenty classes in ten weeks is the challenge, as you wrestle with repetition exercises and get out of your head, so you can work from the heart.
Learn to listen deeply, focus on others, and work with more spontaneity and less self awareness.This is what makes the training unique, and actors better prepared to work in any circumstance they are given. The cornerstone of creating truthful, imaginary circumstances is the foundation of Meisner acting programs, and this 18-month program is an excellent jump start to learning and mastering the craft of acting.
The repetition exercises Meisner is known for can seem strange at first. However, this is a brilliant way to begin to assess your ability to listen, get out of your own head and act in a truthful, original way.
With the repetition work, actors must be fully present and place their full concentration on their exercise partner. This heightens their sensitivity to even the smallest nuances and shifts in emotion. Vulnerability and all aspects of human emotion are brought to the surface, without being dictated by lines of text.
Rather than allow a line to indicate what you should say, actors learn to respond with true emotions, even those they are not comfortable or familiar with.
The cornerstone of acting is deep listening. Everything an actor does rests on their ability to truly listen to what’s being said and respond in the moment. Most untrained actors wait for cues. This “I don’t care what you’re saying, I’m listening for my cue” attitude is the death of many a performance.
An actor’s attention must be grounded instead, on what others are saying, listening for subtext, so you can respond in ways that are authentically human..
This keeps performances fresh and new, night after night, take after take. Imagine having the ability to work from one unanticipated moment to the next, listening, responding and creating a brand new reality. This is one of the most important aspects of our work with Meisner in the 18-month acting program.
Placement of Concentration
Concentration isn’t always the issue, sometimes it’s about concentrating on the wrong thing. It is the human condition to focus on ourselves. This is one of the core tenets of Meisner, to redirect that concentration, placing it instead on the other actors so you can work and respond in the moment.
This is why there is such freedom in Meisner work. Actors stop worrying about what others think, how they sound, how they look-as they learn how to concentrate on others instead. While most acting programs call on you to continue to focus on your own growth as an actor, the first Chapter of the 18-month program at Maggie Flanigan Studio is about listening and reacting to others first, a key to mastering the craft.
One of the most underrated aspects of being an artist is allowing your uniqueness to emerge and become a strength. The right kind of spontaneity gets woven into the work when actors learn to “do,” rather than “think,” This is work becomes exciting and original.
No judgement, internal editing, or withholding, these are the goals of some of the work done in Chapter 1 of Meisner. Many actors assume that they don’t get roles because they didn’t fit the part, but Meisner teaches actors the importance of bringing something so original (yourself) that those casting see the role in a new way. Meisner study allows you to bring the truth of you and incorporate it into any audition or role.
The Actor’s Faith
Acting must develop what MFS calls the actor’s faith. Faith is about having a live, highly sensitive BS detector, a radar with a warning that says, “What I’m doing isn’t truthful. There’s something not right about it. It’s off, It’s not grounded in truth and the reality of doing.”
Eventually, Meisner actors experience working and doing in the moment, as they live out a story and make it real onstage. That’s often a pivotal moment, and they realize they don’t want to work any other way.
Accepting as true, whatever is in the script, the other characters, relationships–and working to live it out every moment is what genuine acting is about. It requires hard work, an inviolate sense of truth, and ruthless standards, but ultimately it’s the faith that produces great work.
Creating a finely tuned, truthful acting instrument calls for independent activity, another Meisner discipline that requires intense concentration. During independent activity, actors learn how to concentrate deeply, but with the freedom and confidence to truthfully “do.”
In this practice, deeply personal, specific behaviors are seamlessly integrated with authentic human emotions. Actors delve into the full range of human experience, and begin to possess the ability to tap into them spontaneously.
The idea of independent activity is one of the most brilliant aspects of Meisner’s training. Students dive into the concept at the end of Chapter 1 but work with it more intensely throughout Chapters 2 & 3. Break free of cliché, cookie-cutter behavior and present organic, personal and ultimately, exciting work.
First Round Scene
Once actors learn how to tap into the imagination, harness their energy and work from their intuitive impulses, they begin to act, not “think.” The result is work that has spontaneity, creativity and authenticity. This process can take anywhere from 6 to eight weeks, and then a lifetime, to fully grasp and master.
After phase one, actors move into round scene study and begin to learn how to improvise through material and break bad habits. The tendency of untrained actors is to adjust to text, do line readings, or manipulate themselves emotionally to fit a line. Even professional actors can struggle with this, a bad habit. In respected professional acting programs like this one, hard work and consistent training eliminates false behavior.
It’s painful, but ultimately rewarding as actors experience the thrill of finding an authentic spontaneous path through material during the 18-month acting program.
What Students Are Saying About the 18-Month Acting Program
“When you go to an audition, you always feel like the people auditioning you have all of the power. Now, because I know what I’m doing, I feel like it’s a conversation at auditions. They are not as intimidating anymore.” – Oriana Lineweaver
“You will not get better acting teachers than you will find here. These teachers are so good at their craft but they are also just real human beings who love you and want to help you. This relationship doesn’t die when you graduate from here. You are Maggie Flanigan family, and it’s beautiful.” – Sydney Nordan
“I now walk into the audition and I am so emotionally prepared. I know exactly what I’m doing. I know what I want to do and I do it.” – Hailey Vest
Apply Today to the 18-Month Acting Program
It’s been a terribly trying time. The world is in great need of talented artists willing to work hard at their craft. It is actors who will tell the stories that will heal us, humanize us, and help us understand each other better. If this is your calling, call us to find out more.
The 18-month acting program, taught by Master Teacher, Charlie Sandlan is the highest caliber Meisner acting training available. All classes are being taught online for the foreseeable future. Students who enroll will be able to complete the first year of the two-year conservatory January to August. The second year of training then starts in September.
To register for the professional 18-month acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio, apply online and call (917) 794-3878 to schedule an interview.