Not in the selfish sense, although that is often a large part of the problem, but more in the sense of why, how and in what ways the ego manifests itself in the following:
Need for praise
Need for criticism
Need for attention
Lack of focus
In each discipline of applied arts, the student is asked to submit to the great truths of a craft long before they are encouraged to express creativity.
Painters learn to draw correctly.
Musicians play scales to prove correct technique.
Dancers take class until fundamental technique is commanded.
Writers discard their own writing in a search for something more.
It is a strange phenomenon that the actor is the subject of the creative act itself. By definition the actor has to believe that they are worth watching, that they have something to show in themselves to the world. The paradox is that until the actor stops believing this, no real training in the craft can occur.
That is why actor training occurs in stages.
Stanislavsky correctly described the first phase of actor training as THE WORK ON THE SELF.
How can an actor begin the process of identifying the ways in which their ego manifests itself as barriers?
By first establishing a clear relationship between the self and the work, which must be seen as a distinct entity outside of the artist.
The work has needs. Those needs must become what the beginning actor agrees to be in service of.
Serve the work. Because is it greater than the self.
When you feel the manifestation of ego emerging, stop before you let it become the issue, and ask yourself: "What does this have to do with the work that needs to be done?"
The right answer is, NOTHING.
One cannot pretend the ego is not there. Like a giant sentinel, it waits to respond to circumstances on your behalf. It will protect you.
But in protecting you, it also prevents you from learning, from growing, from ultimately finding a way to master the ego.
The ego does not want to be mastered. It wants to be the master.
This battle is a crucial one for each actor in training to fight on their own, and with a strong teacher.
Win this battle and the road to true creativity will reveal itself.