Monday, February 28, 2011

When the teacher is ready the student appears

QUESTION: I was working as a theatre director in London, with a particular passion for  actor training and craft. Actors aren't treated so well, and constantly  under scrutiny and judgement, so there was always a sense of undoing that injustice in my work and restoring their sense of creative power and bringing  them back to their bodies. However I started to feel incapable of doing this. It's like I realised the scale of the problem, that this wasn't just about actors, this was also about me and a lot of the world. I felt like an ill  equipped fraud trying to get the actors to be 'present', purifying where they were reacting from, and removing ego from the rehearsal room when I was truly as  egotistical and in my mind as any of the worst of them. Years later I still do not feel ready to teach people what I know to be good when I have not yet achieved the state I am trying to help them reach. Do you have any advice?

ANSWER: The core concept is this: if you wait until you have fully resolved all the issues that you are trying to help others resolve, you will never be in a position to help others at all. Think about the fact that acting coaches and directors are not required to be Oscar winners in order to teach and direct, any more than sports coaches must be as good as the athletes they train. In order for there to be good teachers and guides for helping to make the world a better place, there have to be people willing to be imperfect, willing to risk mistakes, and willing to help. You can always teach what you know to be good, even before you have mastered it yourself. And, because of free will, after you have shared what you know, you cannot be responsible for how - or even whether - it will be used by your students.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Serge,

    this one is really great. Thank you. (When the blog is ready the reader appears ;-))

    love from