If you want to kiss her, kiss her! Gender and Queer Time in modern Meisner training

Lazlo Pearlman, Deirdre McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Responses to creating trainings for LGBTQ + and other marginalized student groups tend either toward rejecting acting ‘methods’ as unfit for purpose, or to simply changing pronouns in these trainings and carrying on as before. This article works through an encounter with heteronormative gender ideology in the Meisner technique. It looks at the way the training and the trainer support the normative and shut down the ability for students to act on the Meisner instruction to ‘bring the actor back to his emotional impulses and to acting firmly rooted in the instinctive’. It considers a repositioning of the Meisner repetition exercise as an example and experience of Halberstam (2005) and McCallam and Tuhkanen’s (2011) formulations of ‘Queer Time’ in order to problematize the role of the trainer as ‘guru’ or ‘charismatic teacher’ and normative ‘time keeper’ and thereby to create training in which students are free not to follow hegemonic cultural behaviour patterns. We posit that this ‘queer Meisner time’ might be used in order to foster atmospheres in which students who do not conform to gender and sexual norms might not encounter these restrictive hegemonies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-323
Number of pages14
JournalTheatre, Dance and Performance Training
Volume11
Issue number3
Early online date10 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Sep 2020

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