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_

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I'm beginning to read David Press' thesis again more carefully.  As I go, I'm keeping a list of questions that seem to be implied, whether or not they are answered.  I'll come back and add to this list as I go, but this is what I've got so far.  Some issues are coming out of private emails.


1.  To what extent and in what way did she participate in the field of “Method” acting?

2.  How dependent was her teaching method on having total control of student actors?

3.  What is the difference between an academic teacher/director and a professional/commercial director?

4.  Is it impossible to teach today as Krause taught in the twentieth century?

5.  What is the relationship between teaching acting and providing therapy?

6.  What major academic waves and issues influenced her work?  (Creativity theory; theories of movement, diction, history.)

7.  What is the difference between arts teaching in a conservatory or private school as opposed to arts teaching in a university?

8.  What should administrators consider when managing theatre departments?  (This is a nice way of approaching the reasons AK was given the gate early.)

9.  What is the role of integrity, idealism, inspiration in teaching success?  Can it go out of fashion?

10.  Likewise, what about “grandeur, style, BIGness”?

11.  What did AK know about comedy that made it possible for her to teach it without killing it?

12.  What does it mean in David Pressman’s phrase that she belonged to a “theatre of the playwright?”

13.  In teaching, what is the relationship between terror and love?  Being relentless for the student’s own good versus being destructive or even liable for damage in court?

14.  Is there any value in putting teaching methods on paper when in fact it is the student that is the living document as well as the material acted upon. so that each student evokes a different strategy?  Or as some might say, teaching is an art rather than a formula.  It is a living interaction rather than a formula.  AK’s resistance to analysis and rules interfered with the thesis, but not the CONTENT of the analysis.  She never wrote or expressed a desire to write, though Harper & Row approached her.

15.  How should a teacher and student manage issues of bonding, attachment, transference, and so on?  Particularly in the context of summer repertory away from the campus?

16.  Should theatre address social issues in an activist way?  Did AK ever do that?

17.  How did AK use improvisation?

18.  How did AK understand success?

19.  How did notions of “success” shape the way students related to AK or even the way she thought of herself?

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