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 18, 2012


Director Gerald Freedman Stricken by Strokes

Director Gerald Freedman, who last fall stage "The Diary of Anne Frank" at theWestport Country Playhouse, suffered a major stroke in late February followng a milder one three weeks earlier.
Freedman, 83, has been the drama dean at UNC School of the Arts since 1991.
According to the Winston Salem (N.C.) Journal.
Friends and family members said that Freedman is improving but that it is too early to make a prognosis. "We are grateful that he is now in rehabilitation, and we are encouraged by his progress," John Mauceri, UNCSA's chancellor, said in an e-mail to the school's alumni.
According to the newspaper report, Robert Beseda, an assistant drama dean, said that while there is "still a lot to do" in the rehabilitation, there are many reasons to feel encouraged about Freedman's progress over the last week: He is motivated to recover, recognizes everyone and can swallow food. He has asked several questions about production and class matters.

Freedman was artistic director of the American Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Conn. in the '70s. Freedman's work as an artistic director or co-artistic director includes stints at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the John Houseman Acting Company and  theGreat Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland for 13 years before coming to UNCSA. He has also taught at Yale University and the Juilliard School.
He highly regarded internationally for his direction of classic dramas, musicals, operas and new plays. He was the first American to direct at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. 
He has numerous Broadway and off Broadway credits, including the off-Broadway premiere of "Hair," the landmark rock musical, and the Broadway revival of "West Side Story" in 1980.
E-mails be sent to and that letters and cards be sent to School of Drama, UNC School of the Arts, 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem, NC 27127

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