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

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

Authors

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  • University of London

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalTheatre, Dance and Performance Training
Volume11
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Apr 2020
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

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 paper works through an encounter with heteronormative gender ideology in the Meisner technique. It looks at the way the training and the trainer supported 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’ (Meisner & Longwell 1987: 37). It considers how a repositioning of the Meisner repetition exercise as an example and experience of Jack Halberstam (2005) and E.L. McCullam and Mikko Tuhkanen’s (2001) 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.