Not at the Yale School of Drama, they didn’t. But, let’s think about this for a minute. Why is it that many Hollywood acting teachers actively promote their classes in this way?
“Everyone works every class!”
Why is this such a constant refrain? It’s because people called to be actors have a desire to get in front of people, to do their thing, to be seen and to share themselves. And there is nothing wrong with any of that; in fact it’s part of their talent. So getting everyone up every week meets that need. Everybody gets their moment in the spotlight. But it also means that no one’s work is getting investigated particularly deeply, because everyone is getting up for such a brief period of time. And without deep investigation, there is no progress. From week to week, everyone is doing pretty much the same thing they did the previous week because no one’s fundamental assumptions are being interrogated. Classes at the Yale School of Drama were not run in this way. At Yale, we would see two or at most three scenes per class. Seeing just a few scenes gave the teachers in classes at Yale the opportunity to get the students to talk about the assumptions that are underlying their work, and help them see how they could look at things in a more fruitful way. And everyone watching got to see that as well. At Andrew Wood, everyone does NOT work every class, and it’s a GOOD thing. It means that when you do get up, there is the possibility of real change, true development, not just a superficial check-up and a suggestion prompting a lightweight adjustment. And when you watch your classmates work, there will be real transformation happening before your very eyes.
In sum, just because “Everyone works every class” is a universal refrain doesn’t mean it’s smart, or good for the student.