A few examples: One of the central ideas taught by Sanford Meisner, known for teaching the likes of Diane Keaton and Joanne Woodward, although not for being a particularly nice human being, is the necessity for the actor to focus on what he is doing for the other actor on the stage. Other directed action is central to a great performance and other directed action is central to the good life. Viola Spolin, famous for her work on improvisation, while also emphasizing the need for focusing on the other, also points out the importance of spontaneity in the context of theater games with agreed upon rules. This will release personal freedom and awaken "the total person physically, intellectually, and intuitively." In the real world, the Marcus's point out, such spontaneity "often leads the player to transcend many of his or her anxieties and inhibitions—call it a transforming liberatory moment."
As the authors see it, much of what is fundamental in these important acting theories needs to be seen in the context of the great traditions of philosophical, religious, and psychological thought. It needs to be understood in more or less traditional ideas about the nature of the good life. Comparisons are constantly being made to Buddhism and Rabbinical teachings, to Freud and Emerson, even to Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld. Ultimately it is the task of both the actor and the individual living in the real world to put aside their own egos in the interest of the larger good, whether it be the play itself as David Mamet would have it or the larger communal interest as the golden rule would suggest.