Meisner Summer Acting Program: Kate Pitney

byKate Pitney

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The Meisner summer acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio is a six week acting intensive in New York that is rooted in the Meisner technique. In this interview at the studio, Kate Pitney talks about Meisner training and what she learned in six weeks.

meisner summer acting program kate pitney 01

Meisner Summer Acting Program Kate Pitney 01

Q: Kate, what did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started the six-week summer intensive?

I thought that it meant to try and prepare yourself to jump into anything that was thrown at you. I guess I maintain that view now, but I think I have more of an understanding of what it means to be ready for anything to be thrown at you at any moment and how visceral that is if that makes sense.

Q: Well, what do you think it means now, besides being ready to jump in at any moment?

I think it means being able to– It’s so hard, to sum up.

I think, in general, it just means having a process and having an understanding of how to approach things that are given to you, and only the ability to be present in the moment when you’re working.

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"I had heard a lot about the repetition work and things like that, but I had never done it myself, which was really interesting to jump into. I now approach scenes in a different way."

Kate PitneyMeisner Summer Acting Program

Q: What happened over these six weeks that changed your perspective on training?

I think the beginning with the repetition exercise is- breaks down everything that you thought you knew about acting. All of the previous scene work or anything else that I had done before just seemed like it didn’t matter because we went back to the basics at first. I think that that made me shed my beliefs before them. Then moving on from that when we eventually moved into scenes, I think I approached them much more- I don’t know, in a different way than I did before.

Q: Have you studied the Meisner technique before, or were you familiar with it before you started?

My mom had studied with Sandy Meisner, so I knew about the technique. I’ve heard a lot about the repetition and things like that, but I’ve never done it myself, which was interesting to jump into.

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

I learned that I do all of these things to protect myself with my body and with the way that I speak. They were things that I just hadn’t been aware of it all before, and only the ability to start to release those things. I think it’s freed me up a lot in terms of my work in scenes.

Q: Did you take up any of the auxiliary classes this summer?

Yes, I took movement and voice and the on-camera class.

Summer Acting Program - The Meisner Summer Intensive Begins

Meisner Summer Acting Program – The Meisner Summer Intensive Begins

Q: How did those classes help you in the other acting classes at the studio?

All of the classes work together. I think movement, especially, really supplemented my work in Charlie’s class well because it’s a lot of letting go of things and opening up the channel communication between your mind and your body, which I think is very helpful for any actor but specifically for me. Voice has manifested in the sense that we’ve been working. We’ve accomplished a lot on jaw attention. That’s something that I know I have an issue within scene work that has been pointed out to me. Being able to release that makes me feel more comfortable about my freedom and my scene work.

Q: What about the on-camera acting class with Larry?

The on-camera class is exciting because it’s- we were taught a lot about how auditions work. We would go into the room as we would in a test and work on camera and get past the nerve-wracking aspect of that in and of itself, which I think made me more comfortable. We also watch ourselves which, although it’s difficult, I think it’s the best way to make yourself aware of what you do. I believe that talking– We talk over our work as we watch ourselves which is very helpful, to have a critique and then try what you’ve been doing again in a new light with more information.

meisner summer acting program kate pitney

Meisner Summer Acting Program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: What is the most significant difference at Maggie Flanigan Studio compared with the other studios where you have studied?

The thing that made this experience different for me, I think, was the fact that we didn’t start by being thrown these major scenes with these fake conflicts in them. We started from this very beginning, fundamental technique. Then once we had grown immensely through that, we began to do scene work. I think it just made me feel like my previous education had been skimmed over. I wasn’t ready to have those things thrown at me when they were.

Q: How has the community of students at the studio helped you over these six weeks?

I think that my class has gotten very, very close in the time that we spent together because we’ve had these breakdowns throughout level and all experienced this growth together, which is a charming feeling, to have all those people become so close to you and be so comfortable with them in a short time span.

Also, in the auxiliary classes, having the people from the two-year program who are a year in or things like that has been very helpful, just in terms of the fact that they have a point of perspective on the studio and on the work that we do in acting class where, of course, they won’t give anything away, but they’re very understanding of where we are at different times of the week and things like that.

Q: What part of the Meisner technique is resonating with you most?

I think the incorporation of the repetition exercise into scene work, where you use the repeat exercise to repeat things that are said to you and help– What’s being told to you land on you more clearly is very helpful in scene work because it enables you to listen more because you have to go over what they just said to you and take it in at that moment. I think that that’s something I’m going to maintain in any scene work that I do.

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

Charlie is not comfortable on you, but he’s very fair. He’s not easy on anyone which is the significant part of it, but none of it is personal or anything like that. It’s just very much an environment where everyone grows. He’s very fair in general but hehe doesn’t spoon feed anything to- anything like that.

Q: Why would you tell someone that they should do the six-week summer intensive at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

I would tell them that they should do the intensive because, as far as I know, myself and everyone else in my class speak about this experience in a way where it changed our lives. I think that it can do that for any person because you start with this essential thing and you get to know yourself, both as an actor and as a person. I think that’s something that can advance and benefit anyone at any point in their life, probably.

Best Acting Programs New York - Maggie Flanigan Studio - Call (917) 789-1599

Best Meisner Summer Acting Program New York – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 789-1599

The Application Process for the Meisner Summer Acting Program

Students who are interested in studying the Meisner Technique the way that Sanford Meisner originally conceived the training, should apply online for admission to the Maggie Flanigan Studio https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/ and schedule an interview as soon as possible. Potential students with questions should call (917) 789-1599.

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Fall 2021
Meisner IntensiveThe Meisner Technique

Starts Oct 13th
The Maggie Flanigan Studio has the best summer acting program in New York and the United States for serious actors who are interested in the Meisner Technique.
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