"If you could learn to act simply by reading about it in a book, the craft of acting would not require the respect that it does."
"Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances" Sandy Meisner
They say the simplest explanations are often the best and that is the genius of Sanford Meisner for what he created in the exercises that have collectively come to be known as the Meisner Technique enable a different sort of acting than what is traditionally taught here in the UK.
If you search online for the Meisner Technique, you'll get anything from historical articles to names of exercises created by Meisner, to names of stars who utilize his technique and these are all very valid insights into the Meisner Technique.
However, being a student of the Meisner technique you want to know what the mystery is. What is it that has been said is ingenious about the man and his teachings. And certainly reading the history and a description of the exercises gives you an intellectual understanding of the work.
But if you're an actor trying to learn more about it, you're going to feel that all the explanations in the world are not going to give you a true understanding. And that is because to know and appreciate the Meisner Technique, you need to first come to terms with the fact that it is an experiential technique. It's an emotional technique.
I first came across the expression "emotional understanding" many years ago in a Meisner Class, when I was a student of the technique much like you're considering. To understand that term, is to begin to understand what the technique is about. And indeed to truly understand Meisner (from an actor's perspective) you must learn to put aside notions of an intellectual understanding.
What we strive for is a feeling at gut level. We feel the truth of the work, that is something that we experience through the building blocks of this technique. And that is what makes this a phenomenal tool for actors, because it is our truthful connection with our own viscera that enables us to live organically in the shoes of a character we're playing and allowing it to work through us.
This is a class for those who are or want to be professional actors. If you have tried the Meisner Technique elsewhere, you owe it to yourself to try it here.