Katharine Hepburn on Teaching: Get The Damned Things Done

Interview with Katharine Hepburn
Conducted by James Grissom
Turtle Bay
New York City

I asked Ms. Hepburn if she had ever considered teaching.

Never, never, not at all. God, no. I might have enjoyed doing a play with young students at one point--just throwing it together and trying to figure out how it's done, how it's done best. That's a great way to learn.

In my day you went to coaches who continued or had concluded a career, a life in the arts, and they wanted to perpetuate what they'd learned and seen and done. Now I just don't know. I think a lot of coaching is like psychiatry: No one wants the patients to get too much better because there needs to be meat on the table and braces on the children's teeth, and so they keep working with people who really have no business latching on to such a study.

Too many students are concerned with becoming something, and I think you are--we all are--already something, and the goal is to be a better something. But you have an identity and a role and limitations and gifts right now, so get out of this beginner's posture, this pose of becoming. Go and get what you want. Fail and flounder and then shine a bit, and do it all over again.

I think the main reason I never taught is that I just would have kicked everyone out or yelled at them when they didn't get better or do as I said. I have very little patience for people who don't just go and get the damned things done.

©  2018  James Grissom 


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