Thursday, December 13, 2012

Letters from Alvina Krause: Winter 1978

The School of Speech was planning to publish a 100th anniversary history.

A Centennial history of the School done by a present graduate student fills me with horror. What department is the student in? He should be in Interpretation. Not by Public Speaking! The School was first of all: Interpretation. You should supervise the study -- can't you manage it? If not it should be Lilla. [Lilla Heston, chair of the Interpretation Department]. She has more links with the Dennis regime than anyone. See that whoever does it gets in touch with Hazel Easton [Instructor of Voice and Interpretation 1919-1936; those positions were phased out in 1936. And Winifred Ward's life partner (see blog post of September 22, 2012) -- DD], she will have invaluable material and perhaps knows how to reach people still living who were in some way connected with the Dennis years. Be sure that whoever does it begins with a graduate dissertation done some years ago on Cumnock by Grace Mattern. That Centennial paper must come out of the Interp department. It was when McBurney, a public speaking man, was made Dean that the ruin began. Let's have an end to hypocrisy!
Your new course -- splendid. Go on working at it, think about it deeply, find yourself in it. That's all I can say. Find what you really want to say through theatre. Keep at theatre roots in living, but growing to theatre. Set up goals, never lose sight of them. What is it we want: great Theatre. Now define that term! Never lose sight of what you are really teaching. And what students deeply need --
My flu has been dreadful -- I still go weak with no provocation. And I am sick of being shut in for three weeks! And my head doesn't click on all fours. And I didn't know Moliere would be such a nightmare to teach. They seem all responsive, understanding ---- and nothing happens. No carry over. They do nothing. They seem content to know about. There's no drive to do. Are any of them really actors?

Happy working!



[...Krause asks about someone who had written to inquire about joining the Bloomsburg students...--DD]
Lynn Rein [Hired to write the centenary history of the School of Speech -- DD] was an experience! I hate living in the past. I recognize roots in the past, but I do not want to relive it. And she did her dissertation on Lew Sarett! [Professor of prosody in the Public Address and Communication Department 1920-1953 --DD] That bit of news almost turned me off completely. Lew Sarett put McBurney in the Dean's chair. His name, to me, is anathema. For whom is she writing this book? Wood? [Roy V. Wood, Dean of the School of Speech 1972-1988 -- DD] NU? Who is financing it? She somehow dodged my questions. Has she interviewed Sam Ball? (Teacher of Set Design 1960 to late 1990s] He could tell a thing or two about the McBurney era. I wish Rein success but what can she do with the McBurney years. And will she tell he married his daughter-in-law after his son deserted her. To my amazement she had found C C Cunningham's [Professor of Interpretation 1929-1947-- DD] letter of resignation in the library! In President Miller's files. You must read it some day. It was plain truth he told.
[...Discussion of the situation with her current Bloomsburg students... -- DD]
W was here the other night all afire -- he had just discovered Shaw. He was so excited he bounced in his chair. He had just discovered Bernard Shaw! You get busy and really teach this giant in Theatre! M is full of Shavian vitality too. He is a stimulant. Teach him.
We have just returned from a beautiful trip to the Gaspé Peninsula. John Van Meter drove us. Beautiful!
Make it a great year!

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