Bryan Oliver

Bryan Oliver

I am an actor / writer / director and first came across Meisner through teacher and friend Jean Fennell. I was already trained in Stanislavski and Jean invited me along to her Meisner class with the idea of possibly involving myself as a writer.

When I saw her students doing Repeats, Independents and Knocks, and Scene work in a truthful, exciting, deeply committed, no bullshit kind of way, I thought to myself: I want some of that! I joined the classes as an actor (I later did write some scenes for Jean and the actors) and stayed for many years until her untimely death.

Meisner can be like free flow Jazz. When it's really flowing with your acting partners it is exciting, unpredictable, deeply fulfilling, not to mention a little scary at times . It's about living truthfully under imaginary circumstances, taking off ones mask and not avoiding or being polite. It's about being with your partner in the moment, and from moment to moment on a journey through the A- Z of emotions. You learn to really listen, see, and be involved in the other person, and they in you. There were times when I was 'in my head', 'avoiding', 'being trapped in a mood', 'deflecting', and committing all the other errors that all Meisner actors, both beginners and experienced, go through. I also went through a 'drowning phase' where you get continually trapped in an emotion to the point of being blinded to what the other actor is doing. Then I learnt to see and communicate with the other actor through my tears, anger, despair, etc, and suddenly I was no longer drowning but swimming like an Olympic athlete!

Meisner training helps deepen ones understanding of self, ones fellow actors, and the craft of acting. It's a journey of a life, and I'm pleased to be continuing it with my Meisner buddy and fellow teacher Eva.

 

Bryan Oliver

 

Bryan Oliver's professional work can be viewed here