By Meghan Kelley, ’18
Since 1990, Dr. Ken Krauss has been a familiar face in the Saint Rose English Department. However, that time is soon coming to an end. At the end of the spring semester, Dr. Krauss will be retiring after teaching for 28 years at Saint Rose.
A professor of English and Drama, Dr. Krauss spent his years inspiring students of all majors. His wit and sarcasm were as much an essential part of his classes as the readings and assignments. Of all the English and Drama classes he taught over the years, he had a few favorites, particularly ENG 577 – a Proust seminar – and ENG 379, Studies in Film. But, Dr. Krauss said, it is hard for him to pick a favorite since he loves all the drama classes he has taught in his years here.
His favorite plays from his years directing the college’s dramas are numerous, including Offending the Audience by Peter Handke and Cabaret by Kander and Ebb. His least favorite is easier to pinpoint, due to the limitations of the script as well as the production Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchil.
“I will always cherish memories of the good times, particularly with my talented students whom I got to watch grow and develop and go on to lives that clearly benefited from their time in theatre here,” Dr. Krauss said.
Dr. Krauss noted that the Saint Rose theater program is unlike any other program in the area. “Ours remains a truly unique program. We do scholarly, literary, and historical work through classes as well as offering wonderful workshop courses in acting and performance, and we also have open casting for any student who wants to participate in a production—unlike any other college in the area.”
As Audrey Couture, one of Krauss’ former students, recalled, “I will be forever be grateful for Dr. Krauss. Had he not believed in me and had he not cast me in the 5 shows I performed in at Saint Rose, I don’t believe my college experience would have been so memorable. My fondest memories of college were the time I spent with Dr. Krauss in the tiny black box theatre.”
Dr. Barbara Ungar, Professor of English, worked with Dr. Krauss for the majority of his years at Saint Rose. “I was always amazed at the quality of production he achieved on a shoestring budget and the performances he elicited out of CSR students,” she said. “He is not only a stellar director, but a wonderful actor, as well as professor, playwright, scholar. He will be impossible to replace.”
In addition to being a great professor and artist, Dr. Krauss is one of the department’s most recognized scholars. His seven books include The Drama of Fallen France: Reading ‘La Comédie sans Tickets’ (SUNY Press, 2004), which looked at plays produced in Paris during the German Occupation. More recently, Male Beauty (SUNY Press, 2014) examined the depiction of masculinity in postwar theatre, film, and physique magazines.
Looking towards the future, Krauss is working on a book about what Giacamo Casanova’s History of My Life has to say on gender and queer issues. “I recently came back from two weeks in Venice, where I retraced [Casanova’s] footsteps and visited many of the places he knew,” Krauss said. The project is a huge undertaking: the twelve volumes of Casanova’s memoir total 1.2 million words.
“Ken is multi-talented—a triple threat, as a scholar, creative writer, and man of the theater,” stated Dr. David Morrow, Chair of the English Department. “Ken is also very funny. I value the insights of his sharp, cynical eye—which I’ve enjoyed spoken, written, and in multimedia format. Ken has very good politics. I admire him, and I’ll miss him.”