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 3, 2013


Acting Lessons with Alvina Krause, a two-hour DVD of excerpts from Alvina Krause’s 1968 master classes at the University of South Dakota, is now available from the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble.  Originally produced by Vera Ward (C43) as Acting -- a Study of Life, the documentary was rediscovered through the detective work of William Bergfeldt (C57).  Support from BTE and private sources funded the transfer of the master tapes to digital format (there is some audio and video distortion).  Featuring the original introduction and closing by alumnus Charlton Heston, the black and white DVD shows Krause working with students on “Creating Shakespeare’s World.”  “Theatre of the Absurd,” and “What is Character?”  The legendary Northwestern acting teacher served as BTE’s artistic director from 1978 until her death in 1981.

Copies may be purchased by contacting the BTE box offrice at or by calling 570/784-8181.  For purchases by Northwestern alumni, BTE will donate a portion of the receipts to the school’s Alvina Krause Fund.

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