Sunday, December 16, 2012

Letters from Alvina Krause: October 1978

More and more Krause was connecting her experience with the Bloomsburg students to her suggestions for my teaching.
And the School of Speech centenary celebration continued to rankle.

David, don't don't don't let your students in beginning acting perform. They have no instrument with which to perform. A violinist wants a perfect Stradivarius so an actor must want a perfect instrument before he can perform. That instrument is himself: his body (train every muscle) his voice (it must express every character from Hamlet to Lear, every emotion, reach everyone in an audience without effort) senses -- which create the Renaissance world, the Arthur Miller world, unknown worlds etc -- the imagination ------- but I don't need to tell you this. Do it! The trouble with the actors I have here is that they cannot create worlds, they cannot respond to that world or to each other. You saw it this summer. They are only now beginning to perceive (to use their senses to respond to stimuli, to understand through perception what a human being is and how he relates to his world) to play together and that means to actually respond through the senses to each other.
Do not let Juliet speak one word or "emote" one emotion until she actually has seen an Italian sun in an Italian sky and felt its heat on her face, her neck. And for God's sake: she must sense stars in an Italy sky -- stars stars -- that play is full of stars. You train those senses to respond truthfully or I disown you. I have told this group "Work on Act II Hedda Gabler but know that you are not Hedda, you are not Brack, you must create them. Hedda must handle an army pistol as a man does, must shoot in the air because she dares not fire straight; she hears, senses, people gossiping etc. --
Your actors have nothing with which to act until they have trained those senses to respond. Talent in acting is the ability to perceive more deeply than other people do -- They must create an actor's Stradivarius.
If Lynn [Rein. See the December 13 post -- DD] is capable of doing the history of School of Speech why is her article in Dialogue so utterly devoid of appreciation of what that school was. Why is it so devoid of appreciation, of color? It reads like an article written in response to an unimaginative assignment of a professor in an English class "Write a 1000 word essay on -- --". But that wasn't what surprised me most in the last "Dialogue". Lee Mitchell who was McBurney's right hand man in the destruction of the theatre department writes on "foundations of excellence" ---- for the Centennial section. So the "Centennial" is to celebrate McBurney's reign! I get my invitation to the ground breaking the day before the event! But McBurney gets there on time! I have a diploma from the old School and two degrees from the present school. And I knew Dr. Cumnock! ---- Sorry!
It's a beautiful day! Pennsylvania in October. We drove for two or three hours this morning. Intoxication! "Lord, thou has made the world too beautiful this year"
Yes, the class is alive this year. I begin to enjoy teaching again. I still fear "Sea Gull" [A spring production was planned by the new Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble -- DD] but not quite so much as before. Tell JC [a former Bloomsburg student -- DD] of these developments. He might be impressed --
Have fun

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