Sunday, October 7, 2012

Letters from Alvina Krause: Responses to my Teaching Journal Winter 1974

The beginning acting class sophomore year had three quarters of work: Fall -- Sensory Perception; Winter -- Creative Imagination; Spring -- Character Creation.
In Winter 1974, besides two sophomore sections of The Creative Imagination and the junior class in Shakespeare, I also had a freshman class in Sensory Perception. (This class started their acting course winter quarter their freshman year and had eleven quarters of acting--the only time we did that in the thirty-five years of my teaching.)
I include only enough of my journal writing to give context to Krause's responses, written between the lines and in the margins, etc.
To illustrate, at the end of this post I've included a photo of a page of the journal.

How much of what is told about "off-stage" action should be improvised?

Until the true Hedda evolves -- Until she senses social pressures -- Remember she fears gossip. How do you get to that? Brack does not fear social pressure -- Hedda a woman -- does

Only enough to give the actor a basic, spinal, total response that can bring him back into the drama?

And can lead him to create -- Set his imagination going -- make him perceptive.
Search for the key to the actor's creative sense.

A young man at Santa Maria [Krause directed at The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria CA for summers 1969 and 1970 -- DD] was a promising actor, knew he would succeed -- a year ago he killed himself. Why? [The name of one of her former students -- DD] with far more cause, is still fighting? Why?


The genius of the theatre has always started with the bedrock of human experience--
(Shakespeare, Chekhov, Sophocles, etc.)
Let this be your fundamental, guiding principle in teaching and you can't go far wrong. You will make mistakes -- unavoidable ones. In the complexity of life and art, teaching cannot be perfect. But if your fundamental principle is true, you cannot go far wrong.
So -- relax, trust your dramatist -- or life, or your God -- Even the fundamental principles of art are rooted in life -- balance, harmony, rhythm, proportion -- go listen to the lake and learn from it!

Build on bedrock of human experience.


A page from my journal:

1 comment:

  1. An amazing glimpse into the past. It truly points up the timelessness of the pursuit of the craft of theatre.