Stealing the good stuff is probably closer to the truth. As educators and artists we do it all the time. At least I know that I have and will continue to pilfer the truths that I find in others’ work and observations. Of course, we tinker with the knowledge we glean from other sources, tweak it in ways that make it, in some way, our own and convince ourselves that we have created a better thing. Or, we just take it as we find it and quietly use it word for word without shame. No guilt is necessary, I think, unless we claim it as our own and try to profit from it on that basis.
So, now is the time for me to “fess up” by acknowledging the people I “borrow” from daily. If you are a former colleague or student, be assured that I have borrowed from you a lot. As I have stated before, over the years I have learned more from colleagues, friends and students than they have ever learned from me.
In my teaching and coaching of actors, I have harvested and continue to harvest huge amounts from writings by Constantin Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meissner, Maxine Klein and Uta Hagen. There are others, but these are, in the main, the ones I rely on most. I sought them out on my own with the exception of Maxine Klein, whose book, Time Space and Designs for Actors, was introduced to me over twenty years ago by the drama instructor at Saginaw Valley State University. Three of my high school students, Maria Infante, Kathy Christian and Melissa Stenzel and I, signed up for a summer acting class. It was great and I have been stealing from all of them ever since. Thanks kids.
The most recent of the books from the above-mentioned authors is Uta Hagen’s, The Challenge for the Actor. I have found it most useful and highly recommend it. I only borrow the good stuff.