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_

Sunday, October 28, 2012


As I look closely at this thesis and explore the MUCH larger context, a lot of ideas come to mind -- some of which might be fantasies.  Therefore, I will stick to the most obvious condensation of what is on the pages.  



Most of this part comes from testimony of alumni hoping to reverse AK’s forced retirement, which Press says NU was forced to do because of her age of 68. (Much politics around this, but none is addressed.)  

There are quotes from stellar students testifying to AK’s effectiveness.  256 alumns signed a telegram.  The Christian Science Monitor ran a long story.  Others quoted include Neal Weaver (now theatre reviewer and blogger at the LAWeekly), Stuart Hagmann, David Pressman, Gerald Freedman, Charlton Heston.  Louis Hetler wrote a doctoral study of Stanislavsky’s influence on teaching and identified AK as among the “most prominent.”  In 1968 during a casual conversation Press was told by Dean McBurney that AK was worthy of doctoral study.  (Throughout her career he had opposed her.)


NU, Yale and Carnegie-Mellon are identified as primary educators.  AK herself has not written and does not intend to detail her methods.

Though Louis Hetler “proved” that Stanislavsky’s methods -- one way or another -- hugely influenced college acting teachers, no specifics were pursued.  Press asserts that though AK used “Method” concepts, they were only part of her pre-existing and parallel strategies.


1.  Discover the consistent philosophy of theatre underlying AK’s teaching.
2.  Codify her most recent theories about actor training
3.  Record representative curriculum and teaching practices.

The time-frame was 1950 - 1968.  Both the NU classes and the Eagles Mere productions were included.  “Visual” (set design, costumes) and “managerial” (advertising, tickets) were not addressed.  Press had wanted to do “library” work, but it became clear that transcriptions of interviews were the main option.  

AK resisted the whole process, feeling it was all too much like obituary and declaring that she just did what “had to be” without analysis.  Grudgingly, she said, reacting to a draft of Chapter Three,  “Well, I read it.  It’s all true -- I think.”

Two main sources of material were John Van Meter and Weldon Bleiler, both dead now.


Press had been AK’s student.  In the first interview he asked whether she considered herself to have a taught “a variant of the ‘Method,” to have been a “Stanislavsky Method director.”   She was quite definite in saying,  “No, I do not.  . . If I am anything like Stanisslavsky it’s that he was always seeking, and I think I’ve always been seeking and still am, for what is this thing called acting.”


Press used a tape recorder, but it was not always running.  If AK said something that seemed important while it was off, she was asked to say it again.  Once he asked her to prepare a demonstration but doesn’t report the result.  Most of the time he asked questions as they came to mind, but also John Van Meter helped him to prepare questions.  Press valued narrative answers.  

AK wanted to revise what she had said, to take some things back, to restate and so on, but Press sometimes resisted.  She was NOT used to pressure.  But Press concludes:  “Van Meter was sure that an integrated, consistent philosophy of theatre lay behind Krause’s teaching, and that her answers would reveal that philosophy.  He was proved to be correct.”

NOTE:  The post on today (10-28-12) is highly relevant.

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