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American Musical and Dramatic Academy


Lee Tergesen began his career in musical theater, which led him to attend drama school in New York. There, he said "the acting part of it" became more appealing than singing and dancing. 

He studied the Meisner Technique of acting when he attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

Here is some information about the Meisner Technique, culled from a variety of sources:

In 1931, several young actors, including Sanford Meisner, Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler, formed the Group Theatre and brought "Method" acting to prominence in America.

But in 1933, Meisner became disenchanted with pure "Method" acting. He disagreed with Strasberg's theory on emotional memory, believing that it limited the actor's imagination. Meisner developed a theory that revolves around being fully in the moment of the character, and experiencing all sensations as the character would.  His Method contemporaries used their own experiences as springboards into the emotional life of the character.

Meisner's philosophy is based on the creation of truthful behavior under imaginary circumstances. And the key to bringing life and energy to a scene is the interaction between the characters.

Meisner believed that two actors could be in a scene, create great characters, play proper actions and still fail the scene. 

Rather than focusing on a singular solid performance by an actor, the Meisner Technique emphasizes the interaction between characters. The belief is that people are affected much more by the give-and-take of characters fully engaged with one another. Great acting, therefore, depends on the dynamics between characters -- their body language, their tone of voice, the quality of the exchange between one human and another.

All the exercises used in the Meisner Technique are designed to strengthen the guiding principle - that art expresses human experience. The "repetition" exercise is the foundation of the technique, which is designed to fine-tune an actor's listening and observation skills, enabling a far greater connection with the other actor or actors in a scene. Its purpose is to liberate each actor from their self-consciousness and allow them the freedom to expand their emotional range.

(Information from The Actor's Pulse, The Meisner Center, and Wikipedia.)

Related Links:

Full AMDA newsletter
August 2003

AMDA Web site

More on the Meisner Technique