Eva and Bryan have been practicing Meisner for over 20 years and have used the Meisner technique extensively in their professional careers.
Teacher: Eva Pope
I have been acting since I was 16 and trained professionally at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art 1987 - 1990.
I then went on to work prolifically in television, film, theatre and voice-over. This is still my main occupation.
I have created a number of production companies, written scripts, coached young actors and basically thrown myself into the creative world for the last 26 years, managing to be a busy working actor and a parent.
Throughout my career I have regularly taken classes, believing that one can - indeed must - continue to improve, develop and deepen ones ability to act truthfully.
I have studied improvisation, the Method, voice work, physical theatre - but my search for the perfect acting "home" ended when I discovered a teacher called Jean Fennell. She had devoted herself to training actors in the Meisner Technique. Within a couple of weeks of attending Jean's class I knew I had found the food to satisfy my yearning - Here was truthful connection between actors, expression was un-selfconscious, script work was transformed. These people were living moment to moment, simply by learning to truly SEE and HEAR each other.
No theatre, film or TV performance ever shocked and enlightened me as much as my first evening watching Meisner actors at work. My teaching partner Bryan was one of these students. I knew I had to absorb this "way" and make it my own.
For 10 years I studied under Jean, always returning between jobs, each time recognising the improvement in my professional work.
My natural instinct became incredibly strong.
I began to easily access my emotional life.
My imagination broadened, my observational skills were heightened.
I started to TRUST myself, learning that I had everything I needed, for any role, inside me.
I fell in love with the Sanford Meisner acting technique. When Jean very sadly passed away in 2011, she had not only become my acting Guru, but my best friend. She left us with a massive joy for the work and it only seems fair to share what we know with as many actors as possible!
Eva Pope's professional CV can be viewed at Spotlight.
Eva Pope also offers private one to one coaching. Click here
Teacher: 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's professional work can be viewed here