Friday, January 11, 2013

Letters from Alvina Krause: Fall 1979

The roots go deep; the passions persist.

I am most curious. The theatre department, the School, received notices of the Theodore Fuch's [Design Teacher 1932-1970 (Chair of Theatre 1940-1951) -- DD] Collection on Theatre Technology going to Brigham Young University. Incredible! NU let that collection go to another university? It is absolutely invaluable! A master craftsman, artist, teacher has assembled the material of a lifetime and the School he served for a life time ignores the colossal, vital work of that life time! What are your bases for the claim: "a great school"? Dean Wood dares to write me he "loves" the School -- Love isn't words; it is acts, deeds, manifestations. It is incredible that the tale of destruction continues to unfold. Does everyone believe a new building will make a new school? I read with deep interest the plans for the dedication of the new building. Interesting the names of people involved: Martha Hyer, who left NU in her sophomore year, Charlton Heston, who never came back after his Sophomore year, etc. etc. Ralph Dennis gave his life to that School, and not one Dennis student is considered in the New. McBurney grew fat, married his son's wife, destroyed that School and his era is honored! Yet Dean Wood "loves" that School! What does he love? ---- And I take it out on you!
Another matter. When are you going to return to the requirement of Theatrical Backgrounds as prerequisite for all acting students. How dare you give theatre degrees to graduates who know nothing about the literature of the theatre? What, in God's name are they studying? Speech graduates do not know what a play is! Daily that fact confronts me. BTE must select plays for next season. Where do they begin? They grab at straws, They fumble in the dark. They have no criteria. What makes a good play? All they have is what you gave them in specialized fields. J decides we must do our own dramatization of Christmas Carol. It is driving me mad! Not one person in the company ---- and they are highly intelligent! ---- knows anything about the construction of a drama. They turn in dialogue from the book. "Dialogue isn't drama!" I cry. They stare. And now J is going through the torments of hell because as a graduate of theatre school she does not know what makes a play. And she is a bright girl! Why do you offer courses in dramatic literature if they have no importance to your own students. Does anyone "love" the School enough to tell the truth?
You are wise to plan a new course, your course. Get it in the schedule next year. Go your own way positively; students will follow. Hope that Sam or a new teacher will support you. I don't know what you can build on rotten foundations -- better build new ones. But don't acquiesce! You have tenure!
Integrity: is it a lost word?

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