I’M OKAY! YOU’RE OKAY!

What a crazy week. Got done playing a great show with the GeniusBoy band last night…hammered on Rye Whiskey and some quality beers. Ran some of the sound too (I’ve been doing sound since I was a boy) and it was such a great energy. So go figure my alarm doesn’t go off and I screw up my Friday. Missed script analysis (but called Professor Russ and had a terrific talk about “A Doll House” and characters in general, the ‘tells’ that provide information such as, maybe a character wears the same coat all the time (security) or uses a prop in a way that tells us he/she is manic, or precise, or worried. We talked for a good twenty minutes and he told us most of the character analyses submitted didn’t go far enough. Mine, he said, was pretty good. Anyway, always pushing further, there’s more to be done. He said he’s making a re-do of our analysis will replace a test. I really like that deal.) Just for fun, so anyone reading this can get a taste of what this is about, I will publish my character analysis at the end of this post–the character of Krogstad.

Here are the journals, and the analysis:

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ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE:

10/30/2013

Now that the computer’s fixed, spent much of the day perusing the Alexander.com site for comparative analysis of what I know, what I don’t know, what they say that we’ve covered, what’s on there that we haven’t. Taking notes to bring to class after the one-on-one sessions are completed.

10/31/2013

Arrived late (sadly, I had the wrong time in mind) to the one-on-one. We had a great discussion about matters-Alexander, stress management, (hell, I was under some major stress trying to figure out where the office was; went up and down three flights of stairs in three different buildings before finally finding the right one.) Got back the journal (B+ instead of an ‘A’ for missing days. That does not bode well for my next journal submission, because that one will start with a five-day single entry spread. Okay, must be diligent. I explained that I have noticed measurable improvement about my stress as it relates to doing an academic approach to theatre, scenes before peers, pressures of full time college, things like that. And really, that’s true. I’m beginning to become accustomed to working before peers in an intimate environment, and it’s branching out into my work in the field. I also brought up my StarTrek comparison—the movie where Spock’s weird brother can lay on hands and take away pain, and Captain Kirk says, “Damn it, I NEED my pain!”—meaning, the pain informs him. Our Professor shared with me that Alexander (unlike Spock’s weird brother) is not an esoteric paranormal power, and it’s not so much that we’re looking to eliminate pain/choice and become sort of happy mindless creatures (as happened in Trek), but that we are simply using the mind/body connection to conduct an improved way of being, allowing our bodies to be free and easy, and opening our awareness such that we experience ourselves and our world with our complete selves.

11/1/2013

Got to work sprucing up the journal and thinking of new ways to explore Alexander—some methodology to further incorporate techniques into my work. I plan to do independent research into specifically actor-approaches to Alexander, and I’ll post these periodically throughout the journal.

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ACTING FOR DIRECTORS:

10/30/2013

Today, we began new scenes. Pretty astonished to discover the first pair to go on not only knew their lines, they had their blocking and the performance was pretty damn sharp. In two days? Boy, did they set the bar. How do you learn a six-plus minute scene in two days and get it so sharp? Was that the director? The actors? Both? Did they get their scripts before the weekend? We got ours on Monday and we’re on tomorrow. Well hopefully, we’ll at least be in the neighborhood.

11/1/2013

YAY! We did the scene and for only getting it a couple days ago and with no more than two hours rehearsal for blocking and such, we pulled it off pretty well. We had great chemistry…I flubbed a few lines and had to call for a few, but you know, this is a first run (rehearsal) presentation so otherwise, we were quite on our game. We fared better than the two students who did the first scene, although they made it through as well. So I was happy about that…it’s a fun scene and now that we’ve thrown the baby in the pool and it swims, so to speak, I know I can put this scene in the can when the time comes. On to the next challenges…

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ACTING II

10/30/2013

Well, we didn’t get our evaluation yet of our performance yet. Guess we’ll see on Friday. A couple more scenes played out. My schedule is getting nutty. We discussed how we felt about our performances and I confessed our limited time to the audience, but admitted that despite all, we worked smart and managed to get some layers and depth to our scene. We heard other criticisms and constructive comments about the other scenes. Primarily, what our professor is concerned with is growth; are we growing, are we improving, are we incorporating some of the various methods into our work? Good stuff today. In particular, I saw Sam (buddy) and his scene partner put down a 10 minute scene from Glass Menagerie just about perfectly. It was beautiful, nuanced, and the best use of chewing gum I’ve ever seen. She carefully bit pieces of the stick of gum and chewed them like she was eating a delicate treat…she seemed as if she had never had a piece of gum before and was doing it to fit in. It was a profound moment…maybe the best thing I’ve seen at UF yet…as small a moment as it was. The little things say a lot.

11/1/2013

Still didn’t get our notes for Venus in Fur! I arrived late to class today…parking issues, played a show last night and got to a late start…alarm did not go off, dog ate the homework, etc. For the time I was there however, I was able to offer a passionate treatise on the problems/pleasures of David Mamet’s philosophy and interact about several matters of our latest approach to scenes. More on this later…

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Tom Miller

Character Analysis / Fact List & Appraisal

Character: Nils Krogstad

ACT I[RS1] 
Krogstad wants to see Helmer about “Bank business— in a way.”
“I have a small post in the Bank, and I hear your husband is to be our chief now—“
Krogstad tells Nora his visit to Helmer is about “Nothing but dry business matters”
Nora tells Mrs. Linde Krogstad is a lawyer.
Mrs. Linde says she knew Krogstad years ago.
Mrs Linde says about Krogstad, “At one time he was a solicitor’s clerk in our town.”
Mrs. Linde and Nora agree that Krogstad is a widower now, with several children.
Mrs. Linde says of Krogstad, “They say he carries on various kinds of business.”
Dr. Rank says Krogstad is, “morally diseased.”
Dr. Rank says he overheard Krogstad talking to Helmer about the Bank.
Dr. Rank says Krogstad has some sort of appointment at the bank.
Krogstad: “I was in Olsen’s Restaurant and saw your husband [Nora’s] going down the street with a lady.
Krogstad asks if the lady was Mrs. Linde. Nora acknowledges it was Mrs Linde.
Krogstad says, “I knew her too, once upon a time.”
Krogstad discovers Mrs. Linde is to have an appointment at the bank.
Nora to Krogstad: “You, one of my husband’s subordinates!”
Krogstad tells Nora, “Mrs. Helmer, you will be so good as to use your influence on my behalf.”
Krogstad tells Nora, “You will be so kind as to see that I am allowed to keep my subordinate position in the Bank.”
Krogstad to Nora: “I can quite understand that your friend is not very anxious to expose herself to the chance of rubbing shoulders with me; and I quite understand, too, whom I have to thank for being turned off.”
On Nora’s ability to influence her husband, Krogstad tells her, “Oh, I have known your husband from our student days. I don’t suppose he is any more unassailable than other husbands.”
Nora: “I am not afraid of you any longer, As soon as the New Year comes, I shall in a very short time be free of the whole thing. [We now know there is something between them, and that Nora feared Krogstad previously.]
Krogstad to Nora [the importance he feels of his position]: “If necessary, I am prepared to fight for my small post in the Bank as if I were fighting for my life.”
Krogstad tells Nora his request of Nora is not just for the money.
Krogstad: “…you know, like everybody else, that once, many years ago, I was guilty of an indiscretion.”
Krogstad: “The matter never came into court; but every way seemed to be closed to me after that.”
Motivation of Krogstad: “My sons are growing up; for their sake I must try and win back as much respect as I can in the town[RS2] .”
Krogstad says his position at the bank, “…was like the first step up.”
Krogstad: “…now your husband is going to kick me downstairs again into the mud.”
Krogstad to Nora: “I have means to compel you.”
Nora to Krogstad: “I owe you money.”
Krogstad to Nora: “When your husband was ill, you came to me to borrow two hundred and fifty pounds.”
Krogstad to Nora: “I promised to get you that amount on certain conditions.”
Krogstad to Nora: “I promised to get you the money on the security of a bond which I drew up.”
Nora to Krogstad: “Yes, which I signed.”
Krogstad to Nora: “below your signature there were a few lines constituting your father a surety for the money; those lines your father should have signed.”
Nora says she signed it BUT: Krogstad says, “The discrepancy consists, Mrs. Helmer, in the fact that your father signed this bond three days after his death.”
Krogstad knows Nora forged the signature.
Krogstad to Nora: “Your father died on the 29th of September. But, look here; your father dated his signature the 2nd of October. It is a discrepancy, isn’t it?”
How does Krogstad also know Nora forged the document? Krogstad to Nora: “It is a remarkable thing, too, that the words “2nd of October,” as well as the year, are not written in your father’s handwriting but in one that I think I know.”
Krogstad asks of Nora: “But did it never occur to you that you were committing a fraud on me?”
Nora says to and of Krogstad, “I couldn’t bear you, because you put so many heartless difficulties in my way, although you knew what a dangerous condition my husband was in.
What Krogstad thinks about Nora’s fraud: “…my one false step, which lost me all my reputation, was nothing more or nothing worse than what you have done.”
Krogstad threatens Nora: “…it is the law by which you will be judged, if I produce this paper in court.”
Krogstad threatens Nora: “—if I lose my position a second time, you shall lose yours with me.”
Krogstad bows to her before he exits. (INTERESTING!)
Nora asks Helmer what Krogstad has done and Helmer replies, “He forged someone’s name.”
Helmer reveals Krogstad did not confess his crime and take his punishment.
Helmer says of Krogstad: “he got himself out of it by a cunning trick, and that is why he has gone under altogether.”
Helmer says a man like Krogstad would be a hypocrite, have to lie to his wife and children.
Helmer believes Krogstad: “…has been persistently poisoning his own children with lies and dissimulation; that is why I say he has lost all moral character.”
ACT II
Helmer on Krogstad, “I hear he is a good worker too.”
Helmer on Krogstad, “We were once on very intimate terms with one another.”
Helmer on Krogstad, “this tactless fellow lays no restraint upon himself when other people are present. On the contrary, he thinks it gives him the right to adopt a familiar tone with me, and every minute it is “I say, Helmer , old fellow!” and that sort of thing.”
Helmer says he would find this kind of behavior intolerable in working with Krogstad at the bank.
Krogstad receives his dismissal letter.
He tells Nora he is not without some measure of compassion for her situation: “a man like me— even he has a little of what is called feeling, you know.”
Krogstad tells Nora he will keep the bond and the secret between himself, Nora, and Helmer.
Krogstad tells Nora he has thought of suicide, just as Nora has: “Most of us think of that at first. I did, too— but I hadn’t the courage.”
Krogstad has a letter telling everything—he intends to give it to Helmer.
Krogstad wants to redeem his honor and “…get into the Bank again, in a higher position.”
Krogstad believes: “Within a year I shall be the manager’s right hand. It will be Nils Krogstad and not Torvald Helmer who manages the Bank.”
Krogstad: “Oh, you can’t frighten me. A fine, spoilt lady like you—“
Goes to character—Krogstad threatens: “…Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, coal-black water? And then, in the spring, to float up to the surface, all horrible and unrecognizable.”
Krogstad threatens Nora as the keeper of her reputation.
Krogstad believes Helmer has forced him into his position.
Krogstad puts his ‘tell-all’ letter into the letter box as he exits.
Nora believes that if Mrs. Linde goes to Krogstad, “…he will do you some harm.”
Mrs. Linde says of Krogstad: “There was a time when he would gladly do anything for my sake.”
Where Krogstad lives according to Mrs. Linde reading his card: “I see he lives at the corner here.”
ACT III
Krogstad finds Mrs. Linde’s note and visits her.
Mrs. Linde says of Krogstad, “…you have never properly understood me.”
We discover they had a relationship and Krogstad believes this of Mrs. Linde: “…a heartless woman jilts a man when a more lucrative chance turns up.”
Mrs. Linde had to support her family and says of Krogstad, “…your prospects seemed hopeless then.”
Of Mrs. Linde, Krogstad felt this for her: “When I lost you, it was as if all the solid ground went from under my feet.”
How Krogstad feels about himself now: “Look at me now— I am a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage.”
Krogstad’s philosophy: “life has taught me not to believe in fine speeches.”
Mrs. Linde suggests they work together; Krogstad sees a glimmer of hope for his future.
Mrs. Linde to Krogstad: “I have faith in your real character.”
Krogstad’s intention: “I shall find a way to clear myself in the eyes of the world.”
Mrs. Linde understands about Krogstad, “…to what lengths a man like you might be driven to by despair.” Despair drives Krogstad!
Krogstad says he will wait below for Mrs. Linde
Krogstad’s letter as quoted by Helmer: “Look, he sends you your bond back. He says he regrets and repents —that a happy change in his life—“

FEELS DISPAIR / SEEKS REDEMPTION[RS3] 
Despair Facts:
Mrs. Linde and Nora agree that Krogstad is a widower now, with several children.
Krogstad to Nora [the importance he feels of his position]: “If necessary, I am prepared to fight for my small post in the Bank as if I were fighting for my life.”
Krogstad: “…you know, like everybody else, that once, many years ago, I was guilty of an indiscretion.”
Krogstad: “The matter never came into court; but every way seemed to be closed to me after that.”
Krogstad: “…now your husband is going to kick me downstairs again into the mud.”
Nora to Krogstad: “I owe you money.”
Krogstad asks of Nora: “But did it never occur to you that you were committing a fraud on me?”
What Krogstad thinks about Nora’s fraud: “…my one false step, which lost me all my reputation, was nothing more or nothing worse than what you have done.”
Krogstad receives his dismissal letter.
Of Mrs. Linde, Krogstad felt this for her: “When I lost you, it was as if all the solid ground went from under my feet.”
How Krogstad feels about himself now: “Look at me now— I am a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage.”
Krogstad’s philosophy: “life has taught me not to believe in fine speeches.”
Mrs. Linde understands about Krogstad, “…to what lengths a man like you might be driven to by despair.”

Seeks Redemption Facts:

Krogstad tells Nora, “Mrs. Helmer, you will be so good as to use your influence on my behalf.”
Krogstad tells Nora, “You will be so kind as to see that I am allowed to keep my subordinate position in the Bank.”
Motivation of Krogstad: “My sons are growing up; for their sake I must try and win back as much respect as I can in the town.”
Krogstad says his position at the bank, “…was like the first step up.”
Krogstad wants to redeem his honor and “…get into the Bank again, in a higher position.”
Krogstad believes: “Within a year I shall be the manager’s right hand. It will be Nils Krogstad and not Torvald Helmer who manages the Bank.”
Mrs. Linde suggests they work together; Krogstad sees a glimmer of hope for his future.
Mrs. Linde to Krogstad: “I have faith in your real character.”
Krogstad’s intention: “I shall find a way to clear myself in the eyes of the world.”
Krogstad’s letter as quoted by Helmer: “Look, he sends you your bond back. He says he regrets and repents —that a happy change in his life—“

FEELS VICTIM / BLAMES OTHERS
Victim Facts:                                                
Krogstad asks of Nora: “But did it never occur to you that you were committing a fraud on me?”
Krogstad: “The matter never came into court; but every way seemed to be closed to me after that.”
Krogstad: “…now your husband is going to kick me downstairs again into the mud.”
Nora to Krogstad: “I owe you money.”
Krogstad to Nora: “When your husband was ill, you came to me to borrow two hundred and fifty pounds.”
Krogstad to Nora: “I promised to get you that amount on certain conditions.”
Krogstad to Nora: “I promised to get you the money on the security of a bond which I drew up.”
Nora to Krogstad: “Yes, which I signed.”
Krogstad to Nora: “below your signature there were a few lines constituting your father a surety for the money; those lines your father should have signed.”
Nora says she signed it BUT: Krogstad says, “The discrepancy consists, Mrs. Helmer, in the fact that your father signed this bond three days after his death.”
Krogstad knows Nora forged the signature.
Krogstad to Nora: “Your father died on the 29th of September. But, look here; your father dated his signature the 2nd of October. It is a discrepancy, isn’t it?”
How does Krogstad also know Nora forged the document? Krogstad to Nora: “It is a remarkable thing, too, that the words “2nd of October,” as well as the year, are not written in your father’s handwriting but in one that I think I know.”
Krogstad asks of Nora: “But did it never occur to you that you were committing a fraud on me?”
Krogstad: “Oh, you can’t frighten me. A fine, spoilt lady like you—“
Krogstad believes Helmer has forced him into his position.
We discover they had a relationship and Krogstad believes this of Mrs. Linde: “…a heartless woman jilts a man when a more lucrative chance turns up.”
Mrs. Linde had to support her family and says of Krogstad, “…your prospects seemed hopeless then.”
Of Mrs. Linde, Krogstad felt this for her: “When I lost you, it was as if all the solid ground went from under my feet.”
How Krogstad feels about himself now: “Look at me now— I am a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage.”

Blames Others Facts:

Krogstad to Nora: “below your signature there were a few lines constituting your father a surety for the money; those lines your father should have signed.”
Nora says she signed it BUT: Krogstad says, “The discrepancy consists, Mrs. Helmer, in the fact that your father signed this bond three days after his death.”
Krogstad knows Nora forged the signature.
Krogstad to Nora: “Your father died on the 29th of September. But, look here; your father dated his signature the 2nd of October. It is a discrepancy, isn’t it?”
How does Krogstad also know Nora forged the document? Krogstad to Nora: “It is a remarkable thing, too, that the words “2nd of October,” as well as the year, are not written in your father’s handwriting but in one that I think I know.”
Krogstad asks of Nora: “But did it never occur to you that you were committing a fraud on me?”
Krogstad believes Helmer has forced him into his position.
We discover they had a relationship and Krogstad believes this of Mrs. Linde: “…a heartless woman jilts a man when a more lucrative chance turns up.”

THREATENS / IS THREATENED[RS4] 
Threatens Facts:

Nora: “I am not afraid of you any longer, As soon as the New Year comes, I shall in a very short time be free of the whole thing. [We now know there is something between them, and that Nora feared Krogstad previously.]
Krogstad to Nora [the importance he feels of his position]: “If necessary, I am prepared to fight for my small post in the Bank as if I were fighting for my life.”
Krogstad to Nora: “I have means to compel you.”
Krogstad threatens Nora: “…it is the law by which you will be judged, if I produce this paper in court.”
Krogstad threatens Nora: “—if I lose my position a second time, you shall lose yours with me.”
Krogstad has a letter telling everything—he intends to give it to Helmer.
Krogstad believes: “Within a year I shall be the manager’s right hand. It will be Nils Krogstad and not Torvald Helmer who manages the Bank.”
Goes to character—Krogstad threatens: “…Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, coal-black water? And then, in the spring, to float up to the surface, all horrible and unrecognizable.”
Krogstad threatens Nora as the keeper of her reputation.
Krogstad puts his ‘tell-all’ letter into the letter box as he exits.
Nora believes that if Mrs. Linde goes to Krogstad, “…he will do you some harm.”

Is Threatened Facts:

Nora to Krogstad: “You, one of my husband’s subordinates!”
Nora: “I am not afraid of you any longer, As soon as the New Year comes, I shall in a very short time be free of the whole thing.”
Krogstad: “…now your husband is going to kick me downstairs again into the mud.”
Helmer on Krogstad, “this tactless fellow lays no restraint upon himself when other people are present. On the contrary, he thinks it gives him the right to adopt a familiar tone with me, and every minute it is “I say, Helmer , old fellow!” and that sort of thing.”
Helmer says he would find this kind of behavior intolerable in working with Krogstad at the bank.
Krogstad receives his dismissal letter.
Krogstad believes Helmer has forced him into his position.

                                                                     

ABOUT KROGSTAD – GENERAL INFORMATION

Krogstad knows he has committed a fraud. He also knows Nora has committed a fraud. He was not a man of means, which is why Mrs. Linde abandoned him for more lucrative opportunities to support her family. He seeks redemption of his character from his community, peers, and family. He has tried, worked hard…but knows he is to be fired now that his formerly close childhood friend, Helmer, has control of the management and was aware of his indiscretion. Helmer feels Krogstad a morally bankrupt man who also lacks discretion and respect for Helmer in public. Krogstad threatens Nora to help him keep his job and justifies his treatment as an eye for an eye (his and her crimes are equal in his mind). He uses this leverage for an opportunity to change. He is therefore both villain and yet, a sympathetic character. He shares that he is not without feelings for Nora’s predicament as they both had contemplated the ultimate ends of suicide. His character arc changes and he admits his guilt in exchange for redemption. His sacrifice of false-honor is paramount in allowing Nora to free herself from the Doll House [RS5] .

PROFESSOR NOTES FOLLOW…


 [RS1]On the fact lists, it might help you to take the quotes directly from the play and avoid the summary along with it unless it used to contextualize the quote.  This avoids our tendency to fit the facts to our preconceived notions of character before they have had a chance to tell us that they want. 

 [RS2]Interesting.

 [RS3]I think this is close.  Is there anything else you can choose that would be stronger?  Look at the words he uses: “fight for my position at the Bank…fighting for my life, “kick me”, ground went out from under my feet”, “shipwrecked.”  All of these phrases and words seem to point in a specific direction. 

 [RS4]I think this is part of the larger personality. Think about what the loss of each of these things means to him. 

 [RS5]These are all good, Tom, and show a solid reading and analysis of the character.  I would say think a little more about your first personality choice.  Despair is something that he feels, yes, but why is all of this stuff coming out now?  What happens on this day that makes him reveal himself in this way?  If he wins, what is his prize?  Don’t settle for the obvious or the superficial- this has to do with what he fundamentally believes about himself, what he has lost, and what he gains back.  It also could have to do with one of the main themes of the play…Good work.

 

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