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, July 25, 2013


Kevin Leonard, prompted by David Downs, and fully supported by myself, is collecting and ordering the archive for Alvina Krause, the legendary acting professor at Northwestern University.   This is the University introduction:

This service was launched in July 2011 to capture and preserve historically significant web content generated by and relating to Northwestern University.  Your archived web site will be accessible via the NUA web site and will be searchable. Additional information on this initiative may be found at

NUA will only capture and preserve publicly available materials and will never copy content that is password protected or requires registration or data entry. In addition, all preserved content will be embargoed for at least 30 days before being made public and will then be prominently labeled as an “archived copy for study and research” to avoid confusion with your live website. This process involves no special preparation of the website and is designed to have no negative effects on your web server’s performance. 

Please contact Benn Joseph or Kevin Leonard by phone (847-491-3136) or email ( or should you have any questions or concerns about the Northwestern University Web Archives.  For more information about donating materials to the University Archives, please see

This is an excellent first step toward translating the mission of your University Archives into the digital age. Thank you for your time and consideration.

In case you are following this blog in order to study AK’s life or are actually on the campus in Evanston, there are materials at Deering Library that include paper and other real world materials.  Leonard and Downs want to collect as many as possible of the class notebooks in which AK replied to students’ account of their work.  These two blogs, and will be archived.

Which raises the question of who deposits what where.  Many AK students are famous and courted by major institutions.  Marshall Mason’s papers will go to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  Other are academics with close affiliations where they teach.  My cohort is crossing into our seventies, so we are actually having OUR students archive materials about US.  My own work is split among quite different fields so will be scattered.  

Some people or their executors don’t realize what importance some seemingly trivial materials might have for researchers.  Leonard tells me they often get inquiries by people writing histories of performance arts, crucial in the 20th century when camera acting was just coming to fruition and experimental theatre was taking hold even out on the street.  If there’s any question in your mind about it, contact Leonard for advice.  Not me!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


This drawing was done by a student at Doane College.

1966 with Jack Peyrouse

These photos were taken at workshops done at Doane College while Peyrouse was the head of the drama department.  She came yearly for three years.


These photos come from Jack Peyrouse who was a student of Alvina Krause's in the early Sixties.  Doane College is in Crete, Nebraska where she received her honorary
doctorate.  They show AK at work in rehearsal, moving among the actors to whisper into their ears, put her hand over a mouth, comment on behalf of the character or the playwright, and all the other strategies to evoke total engagement.

AK grew up in New Lisbon, Wisconsin, but I don't know how close that is to Doane College.  Still she was a American from the Midwest and felt at home there.