Christoph Waltz on Meisner Technique and a Dill Pickle

Dec

08

“Dill Pickle! Dill Pickle. Dill… Pickle”

Jimmy Kimmel introduces this BBC TWO clip of the great actor Christoph Waltz on Meisner Technique and a dill pickle. Brilliant! When practicing Sandy Meisner’s repetition exercise, an actor discovers text by “living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” By dropping the meaning of the text, it strengthens the ability of the actor to convey emotion without using explicitly descriptive words. Dill pickle! Some may think this representation of Mr. Waltz’s range is batty, as seen in the YouTube comments section, but to me, it is an amusing example of Meisner Technique. Moreover, how can you not love Christoph Waltz giggling?!

Sanford Meisner would not let his students get away with much in class and demanded a sincere and open demeanor during the repetition exercise. As an actor working with Meisner Technique, it is your job to generate behavior that is truthful. We want to believe everything about you, everything you do must be fully present, or you have lost our interest.

How many times as an actor have you found yourself inside your head during a scene?

Meisner talks a lot about how one must loosen their sensibilities to be fully open to the process of being emotionally pure. How you react to your scene partner should be free from thoughts. Pure emotional actions/reactions and instinctual behavior are all that is needed to deliver an authentic realization of a character.

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