Questions you should ask when interviewing a Meisner School
Who you work with…
…is just as important as what technique you choose to study. Every school and teacher is different. But a properly trained Meisner teacher will answer the following questions without hesitation or uncertainty:
Are you the person teaching the class?
Do you teach the full 2-year Meisner program and when was your last graduation?
Tons of schools say they offer the full 2 year training, but many don’t even know what the second year of training consists of beyond “Spoon Rivers”. Some who offer it, don’t have enough students completing the 1st year training to continue into a 2nd year. Ask them how often they start a new 2nd year class and when the last one actually completed.
How many students are in a class? Do students get to work every class?
Do you require students to rehearse or is it just a suggestion? Are students allowed to work in class if they did not rehearse?
How many times have you sat in an acting class and watched students performing a scene like they’ve never even seen the script before? Doesn’t that feel like a waste of your time? In a proper Meisner class, students are required to rehearse between classes. What they present in class is what they’ve been working on. They’re not just ‘winging it’. If the school doesn’t require rehearsals, you’ll be sitting there rolling your eyes.
Is your school available for students to rehearse outside of class time?
Who teacher trained you in the Meisner Technique?
This is critically important. Just because someone studied the Meisner Technique as a student, doesn’t make them qualified to teach the Meisner Technique. Ask who trained them to teach? How were they trained and for how long did this training last? What generation are they removed from Sanford Meisner himself? Meaning, are they 1st generation, and were teacher trained by Meisner himself? 2nd generation, which means they were trained by someone who was trained by Sandy? 3rd generation? 4th? …5th? Did they read Larry Silverberg’s books on how to teach the Meisner Technique and then called themselves a Meisner teacher?
What have you added or changed to the technique from how you were taught? Is it different than what Sanford Meisner taught?
Here again, is a critical question. Many Meisner schools have added or altered the program. Most 3rd or 4th generation teachers won’t even know the differences. But many 2nd generation teachers should know if their training deviated from what Sanford Meisner created and taught. If you’ve already read “Sanford Meisner on Acting” you can ask for any differences compared to what you’ve read in the book. In particular, the order that the exercises are introduced and taught, and the scenes used in the book.