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_

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


(Yankton Press & Dakotan,  April 5, 1969) by Dale Bruget

Like bread upon the waters, the philosophy of acting which Miss Alvina Krause instilled in her students at Northwestern University over a period of 33 successful years has borne the fruits of deep-seated respect and sense of purpose which are now coming to her table in her retirement years.

Through the efforts of one of those students -- Vera Ward of Yankton -- the teaching techniques of Miss Krause are being recorded for posterity, perhaps more importantly, for the instruction of coming generations of aspiring young actors and actresses.

Mrs. Ward, wife of Dr. Donald B. Ward, president of Yankton College, made a career out of the talents which achieved shape and policy at the hands of Miss Krause, and now with undying love for the theatre and dedication to the task of preserving Miss Krause’s teachings for others, she is engaged in a project involving no lesser a light in the performing arts that Charlton Heston, Hollywood actor of top rank for a number of years.

Heston, who shares Vera Ward’s sense of urgency about making Miss Krause’s genius live on, has paid tribute to her in an introduction and summary recorded for a half-hour pilot film, showing her life, conducting a student workshop in acting.

Visit in Hollywood

This recording was made in Hollywood last week, when the Wards visited the Hestons at their home in Cold Water Canyon and were guests of the famous actor and his wife, Lydia, at a ballet performance and evening “on the town.”

Mrs. Ward, Lydia Heston and Charlton Heston were contemporary students of Miss Krause at Northwestern.

In opening remarks for the video-tape, Heston said:

“Alvina Krause’s absolute conviction that you could be better than you were is as close as I can come to singling out the one essential in her method and her person.  Perhaps that’s what separates the great teacher from the good teacher.  This conviction of potential, and her capacity to communicate it to you, is what I remember most vividly, and is perhaps the greatest part of the incalculable debt I owe her.

“She is the same (today). . . exactly the same, and exactly as good.  Except for one thing, of course.  When I studied under her she was naturally older than we were.  Now, more than 20 years later, she is, I realize, younger.  Much younger.

Miss Krause has made three workshop appearances on campus at Yankton College and is slated to return next fall.

“Study of Life”

Vera Ward is spearheading the thrust which hopefully will result in a series of 8 - 10 videotapes to be distributed by the South Dakota Fine Arts Council, at cost, to schools and colleges throughout the state.  Mrs. Ward also hopes to initiate and promote distribution of the films beyond the borders of South Dakota as the channels clear.

Appropriately, the series has been named “Acting -- a Study of Life.”  . . .[clipping cut off short] This and other films are to be kinescoped for use in classrooms, everywhere, in addition to uses in educational television and regular programming.

As a feasibility study, a full hour video-tape was made in Sioux City, featuring Miss Krause, Mrs. Ward and students, and this was aired twice in the region.  It affirmed the practicality of undertaking the series, and seeking financial assistance through the Fine arts Council.  The council’s approval of the project led to the start of the series which will continue with more workshop film sessions when Miss Krause returns in the fall.

Now professor emeritus at Northwestern, Miss Krause looks out upon a constellation of theater stars whom she has taught -- Heston, Patricia Neale, Jeffrey Hunter, Paula Prentiss, Dick Benjamin, Ralph Meeker and others, including Vera Bantz Ward who continues her own stage career with scintillating solo performances throughout the Midwest, with occasional returns to the footlights and legitimate theatre in metropolitan centers.

Dr. and Mrs. Ward returned to Yankton Monday from a trip of two weeks taking them to El Paso, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, and Los Angeles.  They attended Yankton College alumni meetings and made other business contacts, and specifically made the presentation of pins and certificates and statuettes to members of the Joseph Ward Club.

Among the recipients was 90-year-old Daisy Ward (Mrs. Freeman Ward) of El Paso, an aunt of Dr. Ward.

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