I have always wanted an authorized Meisner Teacher to answer my questions on the work. I've read the book and seen the videos. But I just wanted to talk to somebody who could give me a sense of the teachings, the lineage, and of what an actor should look out for in a world where anyone can say they teach Meisner, but few actually come from the original Sanford Meisner two year program at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Time moves on and the authentic teachers are outnumbered by the inauthentic ones. Meisner was very specific about his work and his program. Nothing was "kinda..." or "sorta..." John Ruskin was handpicked by Sanford Meisner to teach his work according to the rules. The real deal. This is who I wanted to talk to. Here, via a phone interview which I transcribed and sent to John for corrections, is an interview on "the work." John Ruskin coaches actors who have not trained in Meisner. He has many students working in the industry today.
John, how did you start acting?
On Sanford Meisner:
One of my students did an exercise where she was removing bandages from her body for each of her emotional wounds from her childhood in an abusive family and doing a ceremony where she lit a candle each time she removed a different bandage. It was so moving. People willing to be witnessed in these places. All secrets go away and they start to become an open channel of expression. Then, once they get a taste of the “Reality of Doing”, they’ll never do something fake or inauthentic again onstage, nothing phony and if they do, they will always know the difference.
Do you coach actors who have never studied Meisner?