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Selective Hearing and Meisner Training

The Meisner Summer Intensive at Maggie Flanigan Studio is professional Meisner training for actors who are serious about professional acting careers. In this interview, Yael Eitan talks about how she has changed from the first class to the last class and how she now understands Meisner and repetition exercises differently.

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Summer Meisner Intensive – Yael Eitan Interview – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: What did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started the six week intensive?

A: Well, I think training is a must for an actor. Before I came here, I went to do training in different places. That is how I got to hear about this place. I think training is essential for an actor.

Q: Do you think most people, most actors where you’re from, Israel, do you think they also value the training?

A: Wow, that’s an interesting question because I usually get to hear in Israel people ask me those questions. It’s interesting because I think in Israel, from my experience when I finished acting school, people were like, “Okay, you learned acting and now you’re ready, and you just do what you do for years.” Now it’s much better, but when I graduated in 2010, there weren’t many places to go to actors training. I think this is why I went to do theater because I wanted to meet new directors that will be my teachers and to have many experiences, but I felt like something was missing. That was when I decided to start to go and do the training, and I think it’s a must for every actor.


"It is amazing to see where I started in the first class and where I am now after the last class."

Yael EitanStudent, Summer Acting Program

We talk about it a lot; you will never ask a musician or an athlete, “Are you training or not?” Of course, they are. They want to be better, they want to get more tools to improve themselves and to always keep it interesting for you because that’s when you are the best, I think.

Q: What were the steps that led you Maggie Flanigan Studio?

A: Well, two years ago, when I started, I went to LA, and I didn’t know even where to go. I just Googled and found a place where they do like scene study. I went there; it was excellent. Then I had an audition, and I got through. I met someone who told me, “You need to meet this amazing acting coach,” and we started working together. He said, “I have a scene study class; you have to come to audit it. See if you like it.” This teacher and I clicked right away. He worked in a way that I liked.

After two years going back and forth to study with him, I told him, “I think I want to move to the US for a while. I don’t know if I want to do it in LA or New York, what do you think?” He said, “If you’re going to New York, you have to go to Maggie Flanigan Studio and do Meisner Technique because it will just blow your mind and will improve who you are as an actress and as a person, and you have to go to study with Charlie. Trust me when I tell you, you have to go.” I was like, “You know what? Let’s do it.” That was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Q: Was this your first time studying the Meisner Technique?

A: Yes.

Q: What is one of the things from these past six weeks that resonated with you the most?

A: I think a few things. I think the repetition, for sure, to see what it’s like to have something- how is it to take in what’s being said, and how do I feel about it, what’s my point of view. I’ve never really given enough thought to it. Also, my actor’s faith, what is working for me. You have your tricks, yes, I can think about my family or situations that you need to use in your independent activity, which probably means nothing to–

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When I heard about it at first, I was like, “What is an independent activity? What are they talking about?” I always thought I was a good listener, and I can improvise fast in what the other partner is giving me, but doing this class and those exercises, I realized it is so much harder than I thought. I have so much more to try to achieve and to get to. Yes.

Q: How is training at the studio different than what you were expecting?

A: I didn’t know what to expect. Everything sounded so– I had no idea what repetition meant. I didn’t know what I was going to or I was going into. I think the first few classes; I was sitting, looking at what was going on, thinking, “Is this therapy? Because this is not what I’m looking for,” but then I was like, “No, it’s not therapy.” It’s about exploring something in me without going to my past. It’s not about thinking about what happened to me when I was young or how I feel about life. No, it’s like everything is at the moment. You get to work from your defense mechanism and your vulnerability. I don’t know; it makes you feel so alive.

To take everything and to put it into a scene, into a text, it’s fascinating. It’s so different. I tried it. I think a few days ago, I was going back to the scenes that I had. In Israel, I’m doing a lot of theater, so I have plays that I did before, and I was like, “What if now you take those lines and try to add repetition to it in your head? What’s going to happen?” It was incredible to see what was going on. “I never thought about it this way. How do I feel about that now? Maybe I could have done it differently.” Yes.

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Yael Eitan Video Interview – Meisner Summer Intensive at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: What did you learn about yourself over these past six weeks that was a surprise?

A: That I have, how do you say that? Selective hearing? Do you know I mean?

Because things are happening in class and– When you’re sitting in the chair watching people doing an exercise, you go, “You didn’t see that?” A guy looking at you funny, or someone was laughing at you, or throwing a chair or something and, “Did I miss that? What is that? What is this block that you put on?” because you have a specific idea?” That surprised me because I always thought I was aware of subtexts. Yes. Well, it turned out that I’m not as good as I thought. That’s amazing because to see where I started the first class and the 18th class, it’s like day and night.

Meisner Summer Intensive

Learn More About Meisner Training at Maggie Flanigan Studio this Summer

Learn more about the Meisner training that takes place during the Summer Meisner Intensive at the Maggie Flanigan Studio by visiting the studio website ( Students who have questions about acceptance into the studio should visit the Maggie Flanigan Studio website and apply online before calling the studio at (917) 794-3878.

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