I have found that the histories of trainings are incredibly important, sometimes more significant than the results that they are trying to achieve in the performer. From 2002-2004 I trained in the Meisner Technique of acting under Michael Saccente in Auckland, New Zealand. Michael is a New Yorker by birth and culture and underwent the full Neighborhood Playhouse training with Sanford Meisner. When he found himself in New Zealand, Michael began training professional actors in the technique. These classes provoked the spontaneity and impulsive behaviour that I was looking for in my performance work at the time.
However, just as in the case of Meisner’s teaching, the personality and behaviour of Michael was vital in the way the training was transmitted to us. His small stature was more than compensated for by his loud, machine gun repartee and his neurotic, wound-up rants at anything that got under his skin. His character wouldn’t have been out of place in a David Mamet play, and as I began to reflect on the classes, I realized that our acting was picking up Michael’s particular New York state of mind (and expression) at the same time as we were learning to read each other’s behaviour and Repeat.Continue reading