Actors Instrument – Physical Expression is More Than Just Facial Expressions

byMaggie Flanigan

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Those actors interested in the Meisner acting technique may have heard of the actors instrument. While directors and actors are sometimes at odds due to creative differences, the truth is actors are the instruments, the components, that make up a successful production with a director as a conductor. Directors and actors may sometimes see things differently and while the director is the conductor, actors are the most important instruments used to tell the story. The actors instrument is what the actor uses to channel the vision of the writer and director, creating the most artful, interesting character they can to make the vision a reality. It’s good for directors to remain open to the actors instrument and be aware of allowing the special nuances an actor brings to the vision to enrich the story.

Instruments make beautiful sound, actors make a full range of expressions, from voice and sound to physical, and subtle emotional communication to tell us about our unique human experience. Internal and external expressions are necessary, and actors that study the Meisner technique know how to integrate them all in a fascinating way to create their “instrument.” There are six parts that comprise the actors instrument, generally, and they can be listed as Intelligence, Emotion, Sensory expression, Imagination, Empathy and Physical expression. Studying of each of these aspects of acting and working hard to develop them all equally is what creates the stand out actor who can handle any role. Most successful actors working today have done an outstanding job of mastering many, if not all of these skills.

The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides acting classes in NYC for serious actors. Find out more about meisner acting at the studio website or read this article about emotional preparation.

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