No one seems to object to the transcriptions and posting of AK’s comments which are at www.krausenotes.blogspot.com. 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
Monday, November 26, 2012
But mainly I'll begin tomorrow to type in AK's Master's thesis. She does NOT suddenly switch philosophies after writing this in 1933, nor does she recant anything from her oratory/rhetoric background. The thesis is not about acting per se, but rather the origins and management of creativity. Her ideas fit well with contemporary theories of creativity and brain operation.
Though AK was praised as being a "Method" teacher in the Stanislavski tradition, she is clearly not "Strasbergian," as described by Richard Hornby in "The End of Acting: A Radical View." (I'll post here some remarks on this book, but since I'm reading it for my own purposes rather than as an actor, I urge you to read the book itself if you ARE an actor.)
Maybe for that reason, since she clearly stated again and again that she was not "into" emotion and being a star or even Broadway, she's not much mentioned anywhere. NU let her go in 1963. Most of the energy behind her reputation has come from students at NU, though the EM actors have done well, too. My cohort, Class of 1961, is over seventy now. I'm finding that the women in particular are not computer savvy. We were not a very academic or literary bunch, with some exceptions like Kate Pogue. It doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that AK wrote a thesis or that it would be worth reading.
You'll be able to see for yourselves over the next few weeks. By Christmas you will probably be able to print it out, get it bound, and offer it for a present to someone.
Mary Strachan Scriver