Green Shirt Studio

What’s Extremely Meaningful To You?

What’s Extremely Meaningful To You?

From the last class of Level 1: Living Truthfully and through the rest of our Meisner Acting Program, we ask students to come to class, week after week, and work from what’s extremely meaningful to them. If you haven’t worked with us before you might think, “Oh this is ‘method’ acting where you come up with something sad that’s happened to you, like when my dog died in the fourth grade, and thinking about that makes me sad for my scene.” But no it isn’t that.

The way we work from personal meaning blends our truth and imagination. Students are asked to come up with extremely meaningful circumstances that could happen, today, that would irrevocably change their life forever. So for example, I have this friend, we’ll say his name is Leo, who isn’t a US citizen but he’s protected under the DACA program. In real life, Leo hates that he isn’t able to vote in US elections even though he’s lived in IL since he was six months old, but this time it’s more personal and being able to participate in the election this year would be extremely meaningful to him. If Leo was in our Meisner program and needed to come up with an extreme circumstance this week, he might imagine legislation was just passed that makes him a full US citizen in time for him to cast his ballot.

Asking our students to come back week after week with an extremely meaningful circumstance pushes them to explore their truthful point of view. It pushes them to ask themselves, “What really matters to me? What do I want more than anything? What am I most afraid of?” Doing this difficult work charges their acting with deeply specific, personal meaning and isn’t that what we want to see? We don’t want to see actors casually committed. We want to be mesmerized and inspired by actors that deeply care about what they’re fighting for.

A byproduct of doing this work in the classroom, I think, is getting more comfortable fighting for what we deeply believe in outside of the classroom. Training in the Meisner technique has helped me understand what matters to me most, get more comfortable sharing my voice, and fight for what I believe in. Without my Meisner training, I know I would’ve never been able to write and perform a show challenging stigma around substance use disorders and travel around the country sharing my story with strangers. The Meisner technique has helped me be more certain about what my story is and has given me confidence in my ability to share it.

And in the spirit of fighting for what’s extremely meaningful to us, I think it’s appropriate for me to join the countless others reminding you to VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!