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, January 9, 2014


Tom Foral, 2001

As an illustration that Northwestern University preparation for acting and other dimensions of the theatre arts can support a career in several arts, I submit the example of Tom Foral, who has been a carrier of spears in the background of Shakespearean drama, but also a set designer, a portraitist, a bricoleur (collage), and a creator of "beefcake" ranging from the semi-realistic to the satirical.  After ten years on Broadway in various capacities, he and his spouse, Joey, whose career was in the musical theatre, enjoy various locations as well as keeping a pied a terre in Manhattan.  Here is a publicity sheet from a recent successful event.

Tom's most recent stage role was as the Stage Manager in "Our Town."

Tom in the center.

The following transcriptions of notes to Tom from Alvina Krause show how much she was an entrepreneur and impresario (impresaria?) as well as an acting teacher and director.  Starting from very limited resources and proceeding by hook and crook as well as the passion of her students, which allowed her to make outrageous demands on them, she and Lucy managed to keep the dream of repertory theatre alive in a little resort town west of the Poconos from 1945 to 1965 where people came to escape the heat before air conditioning.  There was and is also an active winter-sports scene involving ice-tobogganing, but we were back at Northwestern then.

Written into a booklet originally meant to be a journal notebook :

Tom --

My “super-jet” is an hour and a half late so here I am bored to desperation in the Pittsburgh airport.

So you are Equity/Sc [?]  Are we going to bill you as Foral Thomas this summer?  I am not wishing that you will not get the big chance, but we would like to see you at E.M.  Several of your E.M. fans are asking about you.  And I am wondering again whether you could design “Ethan Frome” for our stage.  “Gideon” is on the schedule.  Want to play God?  I am not sure that “Oh Dad, Poor Dad” will be available, but a lot of people are urging me to do it.  Do you know “Idiot’s Delight”?   It is tempting me; would have to be done in period: 1930’s.  What Shakespeare?  I know not!  What Shaw?  Chris has cast “Back to Methuselah” but I am still afraid of it.  

No musical picked.  Do you know “Boys from Syracuse”?  Worth reviving?  I don’t know.  “Camelot” is not available.  Jerry Freedmansuggested “Lorenzo”; says bad directing killed it on N.Y.

Forest Inn has just been sold.  We do not know what it will mean to us.  Owners are two Philadelphia men: Way and Benvegna or something of the sort.  The “corporation” went $9,000 into the red last year.

These huge resort inns were the source of the Eagles Mere audiences.  There were five of them.

We were tempted to come to see you at McCarter, but Lucy did not have her car and we procrastinated too long.

At NU things have reached a point beyond endurance.  If Fortune does not materialize, I think I shall retire to my rose garden.

Carry your spears with style!


P.S.  Surprised to get a postscript?  Well -- it’s getting important to know whether you will be coming to E.M. because:  Van meter will direct "Antony and Cleopatra" for me if Tom Foral is available to play Antony.  Of course, he also stipulated that you would have to be letter-perfect in the role before coming to E.M. so that we could start work on it early.  Well?



If you play Father, Antony and The Lord, I guess you should not play Ethan as I had originally planned -- do you want to direct Ethan? Van Meter says:  I hope Foral will design “Antony and C” -- yes?  And “Ethan” and . . .  I’m still in a fog about a couple of shows.  Can Frank not stay for "Antony and C"  Aug 7,8,9,10?


Unit set again this summer?  Two unit sets?  Have one promising Sophomore interested in design.  Has done some promising work.  Use him?  If you’re with "Life with Father "can you play Father without pre-season rehearsal?  Guest-star-artist ready to go?  Can’t think of anyone else who could so directly, authoritatively speak to God!  Frank wants a cement floor to build flats on.

Fortune be with us!


Some samples of Foral work, far from complete, but to give you an idea. and

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