In Now playing in a theater near you, Rejection, Sanford Meisner on February 9, 2015 at 8:42 am

The choice is always there: shut up so as not to offend others. Speak out and offend. What do you do with shame.

Guilt is something else. You did something wrong, and you feel bad about it. You make amends or find some way to live with the consequences. Shame is a lot trickier. You said something or did something, and people you care for step back as if they’d been stung or bitten. How could you say that? How could you make us lose face? How could you lower yourself to… etc. You cringe in retrospect. You meant every word. You cringe anyway.

At one point in Sanford Meisner on Acting, Mr Meisner tells his students about his reaction at the burial of one of his parents where he moved his foot as if stubbing out a cigarette, while the casket was buried. They are chilled by his words. “I can tell you this because I have no shame,” he says (or something to that effect). The point is in the learning to express something truthfully. At another point, he throws out a student. Also a shocker. Meisner has asked an honest question. The student has given an honest response. Out goes the student because Meisner considers he’s disrupting the class for others. Exit Vincent.  And who cares? The story isn’t about him, it’s about Meisner’s acting classes.

Shame. What you do with it. For one. And how you deal with being the reject, for another.


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