I had a recent coaching session with someone who I knew had completely opposing ideas on acting to me. But rather than fight, I found that instead, we seemed to both enjoy ourselves.
Why did that happen?
I believe it was because although we work in very different ways, have starkly different beliefs when it comes to acting and strongly defend them when challenged, we found a common language and we spoke in that language during the session.
We also had the same goal: to make my client the best he could be. We both wanted that, and it was more important to both of us than our own beliefs on acting. Neither of us came away Hollywoodised into some kind of relevation, but instead, we even talked about doing a show together.
Why? Because we don’t have to agree on method and style!
It’s not Method or NOTHING, it’s not MChekhov or NOTHING. It’s not Practical Aesthetics or NOTHING, despite how I wish it was sometimes but it’s not (and I need to learn that too). I trained in the other methods mentioned above and I choose Practical Aesthetics, but I do not delete my history. I don’t take away some of the very important lessons I learned from them – some of which make teaching Practical Aesthetics easier and more connected to those originating sources such as Stanislavski, Meisner and for us, very importantly Aristotle.
Now, I will admit that it wasn’t the easiest coaching session because I prefer to speak in the language I know best, which is the post-Stanislavski terms of Practical Aesthetics. I know I’m most comfortable with it, but I also know that to be the best acting coach that I can be, I need to offer all and any actors the opportunity to improve, to prepare and the nail auditions, regardless of their beliefs, their techniques and their perspectives. Would I prefer they all spoke PA? Yes. Do I think it would help them too? Yes. But am I in the business of converting? No, not at all.
I believe in what I do, but I think flexibility is strength.