The Serious Work of Meisner Training

byDaniel Touhey

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Meisner training at Maggie Flanigan Studio includes work deeper than memorizing lines and dramatic emotions. In this interview with Logan, Daniel talks about how the Meisner Technique helped him to discover that he has more artistic depth than he previously imagined.

Two Year Acting Program – Daniel Touhey Interview – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Daniel Touhey in the Maggie Flanigan Studio talks about the two year program

Two Year Acting Program – Daniel Touhey Interview – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Logan: How would you describe what it means to train as an actor before starting here at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

Daniel: Before starting here at Maggie Flanigan Studio, I didn’t have much experience training as an actor, so I would’ve described it as learning how to memorize a bunch of lines, learning how to do big dramatic emotions, learning how to get into maybe a physical altercation, learning how to do blocking, that sort of thing. I had a lot of generalizations about what acting was. I did know that it was connecting with humans on a certain level. That is what drew me to it. That was my expectation was coming in.

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Training at Maggie Flanigan Studio is one of the greatest decisions I have made for my art.

Daniel TouheyActor, Two-Year Program

Q: Great. Now that you are where you are in training, how would you describe what it means to train as an actor?

A: I would describe it entirely differently. Training as an actor is about finding the truth, especially within yourself. It’s about digging deep into the core of who you are and learning about your triggers for different emotions and situations and how things make you act. It knows yourself, which can be a little scary even at times, but it’s gratifying to be on that level of consciousness, not only with yourself but with another person. A lot of the time, I’ve learned that acting is about taking in the other person that you’re on screen, on stage, what have you, with and letting their behavior dictate or decide what I do next, freeing.

Q: Great. Is there a specific thing you learned that surprised you about yourself as an artist or a person?

A: I’ve learned that I have more depth in me than I ever imagined. For example, with my rage, I’ve learned in the last semester and a half that I’ve been here that I have a lot more anger in me than I ever expected. I’m sure you know, and people around me, when they see me, they see all the smiles and the laughs, but I’ve learned that my rage is absolute, and it needs to be heard, and it needs to be practiced as an artist because sometimes it’s the truth.

2022 summer acting program begins in New York, NY

Q: What drew you to the Meisner technique?

A: The thing that drew me to the Meisner technique, I would say. First, the definition is the ability to do truthfully in imaginary circumstances. I think that idea is excellent, to live the truth in an honest moment out in fictional cases, where once you yell cut, there are no repercussions, no issues that come afterward. But, still, you get to live and feel and experience something so authentic at that moment. It teaches you something about yourself that is just illuminating, and it’s like a high, almost, and that’s what’s cool about the Meisner technique. It just really brings people to life.

Daniel Touhey on the two year acting program, he talks about the two year program with Logan

Daniel Touhey – Two Year Acting Program at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: You are also taking voice and movement; how would you say those classes have affected your work in acting class?

A: I would say my work in voice and movement has been just as crucial in my acting class as in the acting category. I didn’t realize how vital the physical body was as an actor before coming here, but I learned how blocked I was through voice and movement. As just human beings living in this world where there’s much trauma and negativity that happens, we shield ourselves physically so that we don’t have to feel these emotions. So when I came here and started taking movement and voice, Sara Fay and [unintelligible 00:04:55] started opening up my channel and teaching me about releasing. It allowed me to feel my emotions on a level I had never felt before.

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

A: The first word that comes to mind when I think of Charlie as a teacher is gravity. He holds so much weight and importance in his art and the artists that he teaches that there’s almost a sense of gravity in his classes. It’s grounding and humbling to be led by him because of how seriously he takes his artist. For example, he constantly reminds us not that call sheets matter, but I’m training people to be at the top of the call sheet. “This is serious training, this is serious work,” and he constantly reminds his students of that, which I think creates such a beautiful community, such a severe community, but in the best way possible.

Q: How does that sense of community help you through your training process?

A: The size of the studio here at Maggie and the community is perfect for me. It’s such an open community. I’ve grown to be familiar with almost everyone’s faces at this point, everyone’s names, I say hi to everyone in the hallway, and that’s fostered, I think, by the smaller size. It’s so beneficial to be surrounded by people I know who have gone through the same experiences I’m currently going through. Having them literally right here at my fingertips to ask them questions and ask them for help with roadblocks I’m encountering has helped me grow much as an artist. It’s been everything.

Daniel Touhey at Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York talking about the acting program

Two Year Acting Program in New York – Daniel Touhey Interview

Q: Great. What are you most excited about that’s coming down the pipeline?

A: Knowing how much I’ve grown already in the first semester and a half and how much I’ve learned about myself, I’m excited to continue that growth and that knowledge of myself, honestly.

Q: Do you have any advice for people on the fence about deciding to train?

A: I would tell them to ask specific questions as they need to each of the different studios they’re considering. I think that asking those questions can provide them with a lot of information, not only the data they’re asking for but how’s the studio responding. How are they getting that information passed back to them? I think that can tell them a lot about the studio’s environment and community. It will also help with what to expect and how it will be personalized for them down the road.

I would say talk to the people of the studio and try and talk to someone, actually talk to someone and pick up on, for lack of a better word, the vibe and see if it matches and works for you. So that’s the piece of advice I would give.

Q: Is there anything else that maybe I didn’t ask you that you’ve been dying to tell somebody?

A: I think one of the most important things I’ve learned here at Maggie Flanigan Studio is that I am an artist. I need to take that seriously because it’s a responsibility to develop my art and share it with people. After all, I know that it’s essential. So there’s something that I have to say, and I wouldn’t have that confidence or that knowledge in myself without coming here. So for me, this has been life-changing.


Professional Acting Program

About Meisner Training for Professional Actors

Learn more about Meisner work at the studio by visiting the studio website. Actors interested in the two-year acting program can apply online or call the studio at (917) 789-1599 with questions.

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