Saturday, September 8, 2012


Hi Mary,

Congratulations on the krausenotes blog, I hope others with AK and Eagles Mere memories will add to it. There may be some material in our archives which might be of interest. 

To introduce myself, I graduated from NU in 1976; some of my teachers there had studied with AK, and in the case of Frank Galati had been at EM Playhouse. Of course by this time, AK had left Evanston and moved to be with Lucy in Bloomsburg, but her legend certainly hovered over the theatre department. After her retirement (you probably know the story of that event), she taught workshops and directed around the US, and occasionally held classes in Lucy's house. All this ended when Lucy had a stroke and AK cared for her. Then Lucy improved, and in the months before my graduation, it became known that she was willing to take on another small group of students for classes in Bloomsburg. I was one of eight students who came here for a summer of studying Cherry Orchard. Classes were Tuesday and Friday mornings; $30 a week, and if you couldn't afford it you could do household chores and yard work!!!! Among the chores was helping Lucy & AK move out of the cottage at EM, which is about a 30 minute drive north of Bloomsburg. I recall peeking into the player's lodge at the Othello stove in the kitchen. 

When summer '76 was over, we asked if we could come back in the fall, and AK consented. The following months we added Shakespeare, Shaw, and Ibsen to our class work, and put together some scenes for clubs in town. For the summer of '77, other NU grads joined us. The Playhouse was still standing, though barely. One afternoon, a friend and I broke into it; there was a park bench on the stage and we re-enacted a scene from Zoo Story which we had done back at NU. So, I guess we were the last ones to act on the stage.  Many of us had talked in college about starting our own company, and under AK's daring inspiration, we formed the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in 1978. AK was artistic advisor, and was sometimes titled an artistic director though she didn't really take on any day to day company decisions. She directed 2 shows and supervised the directors of the other shows. There were still a number of audience members who recalled attending shows at the EM Playhouse. We toured Under Milk Wood to the firehall in EM, coincidentally at the time that Patricia Neal (who was in the first EM company) was visiting.

AK died before we had our own theatre in Bloomsburg, but when we acquired and renovated the Columbia movie theatre, we renamed it in honor of her, and at the dedication in 1983 a number of her former students attended and took a pilgrimage to EM, but by then the playhouse had collapsed.

After Lucy died, BTE became the default repository of her EM memorabilia. We have some programs, posters, critiques, and the box office seating chart. AK's papers are in the Library of Congress and at some point are to be made available digitally to the public. NU, despite inviting her back to speak at a star-studded celebration before her death, distanced itself from her legacy, until it came time to raise funds for the new theatre facility when they approached BTE for assistance gathering biographical info and photos. They now have a studio space named for her.

We have in our own archives some pre-BTE class notes from AK, plus some notes from her in our early years. These are in the BTE archives housed in Andruss Library at Bloomsburg University. I wrote the bio of AK which is on our website. Some interesting recordings have come to light recently: the films AK made for South Dakota public TV in 1968 where rediscovered after brilliant detective by William Bergfeldt and after digital conversion were briefly available for sale (there is a clip on vimeo), and audio recordings of AK on SD public radio. 

BTE is now beginning its 35th season, and three of us ensemble members are from the early years and knew AK. Though we are the last of her students, we don't make any special claim to being her torchbearers. She did not ask that of us, and left no definitive, codified "Krause method" to posterity. Every now and then, someone says "Someone ought to collect AK's papers for publication", but that's as far as it's gotten. Perhaps your blog will take this idea farther! Have you thought about contacting the NU Speech Alumni magazine for a mention of the blog?  

I'd be happy to look through our files for the EM memorabilia for anything that might be of interest for your blog. 

Jim Goode

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