Monday, October 22, 2012

Letters from Alvina Krause: Spring 1975

The group of students in Bloomsburg was growing and they were by now mostly graduates of NU. Krause's letters included more and more discussion of her work with them.
I have used capital letters when she writes actual names.

You make sure you recognize priorities! You just may have the capacities that make a great teacher. Let nothing come between you and that aim! And if you need warning, look at [She names an NU colleague -- DD]. A man of colossal talents who lost sight of priorities and what is he now! Keep your vision clear. It's a lonely road, but look at [ditto -- DD]: he chose the other --

Yes, I have told the group we stop work in two weeks. It is useless to go on and I refuse to pursue a useless course. I would rather work in my garden. I tell you this because you better do something about that sophomore course in acting! It should be the very guts of the work in acting! It should turn on the creative minds of actors. It should be the touchstone for all future work. An actor creates should be the theme. Out of what? Stored up images, sensory images, action images, people images. By what means? The creative imagination. Do you know these NU people --except for Y -- have none? No imagination at all! Even when I supply the flame, nothing kindles! They admit it: they are numb, they have never used the creative mind. P brought it all to a climax with Mercutio. We had worked on Mercutio earlier in the year. I told them: here is Shakespeare himself, his active creative mind teeming with images thrown into galloping verse. And what does P give us? A clown. A bumbling clown. Wit? Not a trace! Poetry? Imagination? Not a sign! I blew my top, P left and probably will not reappear. And thus we got to the acknowledgment: no creative minds. Three years of acting at NU and imagination is a foreign word. Now you get busy on that basic course. Scrap my program. Devise your own. But reach the creative mind! I shall work with U and Y if they like, but the rest -- goodbye.

The Chekhov cherry tree was beautiful [Those of us who first went to Bloomsburg during spring break 1972 planted a Cherry Orchard cherry tree in the backyard as a parting gift -- DD]-- and now the iris gloriously regal and I plucked a white rosebud today.
And what is NU doing for the Bicentennial?


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