No one seems to object to the transcriptions and posting of AK’s comments which are at I’m putting comments and analysis on a separate blog, this one, so that people who don’t want to read such things don’t have to. This blog is set to accept anonymous comments, but I read them all and won’t tolerate flame wars. None have started.

Some of the most interesting and useful feedback on this material is coming in emails, some shared and others not shared, which I don’t want to post with names attached unless I have permission. I’m just going ahead to name the people AK named in her notes -- it’s been half a century since then, after all. Indeed, some of the email comments are arriving from people in that time period as well and those of us who know each other can probably guess who said what.

In good “discussion” mode, I’ll try to separate the issues from the people.

1. It is most moving that after fifty years the memory of personal relationships with AK have the status of love affairs, magical relationships that have inspired people for decades. They do NOT want that interfered with. Who would?

2. Likewise, there were a few people deeply wounded by past misunderstanding and schism and they, too, still hurt. To some this might be a reason to shut down, but to me it’s a reason to continue.

3. One opinion is that AK’s teaching methods are obsolete now. Students will no longer tolerate the confrontive and sometimes invasive tactics she used then. Indeed, some people wouldn’t accept them then, but they quietly went elsewhere. Is it a loss or a gain to give up the auteur model of teaching? Stanislavki was, after all, a Russian like the famously dictatorial ballet masters.

4. Is it true that academic theatre is nothing like professional theatre? You can still be tough on professional actors? (If Equity allows it.)

5. Some feel that theatre is totally different now. Whatever was important then is NOT important now. Or, to the contrary, theatre, esp. repertory theatre, is entering a renaissance that is vital and thriving across the country with new companies still being founded.

6. AK’s life trajectory is not really understandable without considering the time periods, the place, the administrators, sexism, and so on. No different from understanding a character in a play. (I confess -- this is my opinion.) All this happened before the Derrida Deconstruction craze, but we understand that, don’t we?

Mary Strachan Scriver

(Prairie Mary_

Monday, September 17, 2012


BORN  JANUARY 28, 1893 in New Lisbon, Wisconsin.
Youngest of five.  Grew up on the family farm.
1912 graduated from high school where she had won a declamation contest.
1912 or 1913 attended University of Wisconsin
1914 enrolled at Northwestern University School of Oratory.
1916 graduated from the two year program and began teaching high school drama in Seaside, OR, where several siblings lived.  Coached the girl’s basketball team to a state championship.
Then taught in Springfield, Missouri.

1925 returned to NU.
1928 received Bachelors in Science.
Taught for a year at Hamline University in Minnesota and produced a play for a college drama competition at NU.  She won and was asked to join the faculty.

1930 appointed Instructor of Voice and Interpretation.
1933  Masters of Science from NU

1941 became Assistant Professor.  Initiated a one-year acting course which developed into a three year program.

1957 became Associate Professor.
1961 retired as Professor Emeritus
Until 1963 continued as lecturer. 
Bloomsburg, PA   Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble

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