Monthly Archives: October 2008

Randy-learning from Ron Rosenbaum’s book THE SHAKESPEARE WARS

I found Ron Rosenbaum’s book THE SHAKESPEARE WARS enthralling.   I will use a lot of it.   From college I knew the importance of the iambic pentameter line to an actor in communicating meaning to an audience.   That didn’t mean I paid any attention to the important PAUSE, “that moment for breath, that delicate moment of hesitant stasis, that brief instant of intentional silence at the end of an iambic pentameter line;” but now as a director I can’t ignore it.   In that PAUSE, I find so much that’s important to me: where a thinking performer night after night can give the illusion of the first time.

Shakespeare rewrote his plays, Rosenbaum, among many other important things, pulls this out of debates that still swirl around the Barb and his legacy: the “clashing” scholarship, “public fiascoes,” and “palace coups.”   And there is evidence that he (Shakespeare) fussed over punctuation…even with printers…but I hadn’t realized the significance of this for me.   Until now, punctuation hadn’t seemed that important.   How a comma here or there totally chances the meaning of something.   How the presence or absents of three O’s…O’, O’, O…as when Hamlet dies…can effort how one interprets the whole play.   This opened up for me a whole new way of looking at my work.   It gives me a new tool…punctuation.   It gives more freedom.   I could even use, if I wanted, my misspelling: see Rosenbaum’s chapter “The Spell of the Shakespearean in “ORIGINAL SPELLING.”   Well, why not?   (You could tell me that I live in an age after Webster and I should be concerned with satisfying readers.)   Even at this late date, I’m learning.

Rosenbaum’s subject, even when he is focused on a cast of heroes and villains, is Shakespeare. We may have thought we knew Shakespeare before, or hadn’t put it all together.   We may have been saturated with stuff about Shakespeare to the detriment of our curiosity.   I thought I knew enough to get me by and had stopped concentrating on the man from Stratford.   But now after reading THE SHAKESPEARE WARS, I want to reread it, use it and read it again.   I now want to go back through the work of Shakespeare with bottomless wonder.

Ron Rosenbaum studied Shakespeare at Yale.  His best-selling work of cultural history EXPLAINING HITLER has been translated into ten languages.  His work has appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES, HARPER’S, THE ATLANTIC, and THE NEW YORKER.  He writes a column for THE NEW YORK OBSERVER and lives in New York City.


Copyright @ 2006 by Ron Rosenbaum

Dedicated: “To Peter Brook and the cast of Dream.  For changing my life forever.”

Randy Ford

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Karen Ferguson Tauber-author’s second short story collection released

      Karen Ferguson Tauber’s second short story collection REACHING FOR A NEW LEAF: STORIES OF TEACHERS DANCING WITH FATE has just been released.  In this second collection, the teacher-protagonists seize upon various opportunities in hopes of creating new beginnings.  Throughout the eleven stories, readers gain an awareness of how new life experiences help us to grow whether the chances we take yield the results we long for or, instead, lead us back to the familiarity of tried and true dances. 

      Karen’s book will be for sale through her at and look for it at various locations throughout Tucson.  REACHING FOR A NEW LEAF makes a good gift for the teachers in your life and for all those individuals who are curious about the world of public education. 

       Taken from Oct-Nov 2008 THE WRITE WORD the newsletter of THE SOCIETY OF SOUTHWESTERN AUTHORS.

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Playwrights Foundation-Oct. 29,2008 THIS WEEK’S NEWSFLASH

Playwrights Opportunities

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Playwrights Foundation

Just Theater Presents Current Nobody in a Partnership with Playwrights Foundation


Playwrights Foundation’s Producing Partnership Initiative/Commissioning Program has been helping playwrights make the crucial step from development to production since its launch in 2003. We are proud to expand the program to support the continued life of new plays that have received premieres, beginning with Melissa James Gibson’s Current Nobody. The play’s West Coast Premiere will be directed by PF’s Associate Artistic Director, Jonathan Spector, who is also Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater.
A modern riff on Homer’s Odyssey, Current Nobody reverses the genders to tell a story of the ultimate long-distance relationship. While his famous photo-journalist wife Pen is away covering a war for 20 years, Od struggles to raise his daughter and fend off the advances of a trio of indie-documentary filmmakers who have planted themselves in his house. Current Nobody weaves together the famous epic tale with the personal and very modern dilemma of trying to keep the impossible balance career, ambition and family life.

Nov. 14 – Dec. 13 at Exit Theatre

More information at

Special Offer for PF Newsflash readers!
Get $10 tickets for Current Nobody‘s first weekend (Nov. 20, 21, 22). RSVP to


by November 10th. Include your name, number of tickets, and desired performance date, with the subject line CURRENT NOBODY. Your discount tickets will be available at the door on your chosen date.
New Play Institute Class with Ken Prestininzi
Playwrights Foundation is excited to welcome Ken Prestininzi, Yale School of Drama’s Associate Chair of Playwriting, to the New Play Institute this December. His workshop, Creative Sparks Fly: How to Catch Them, will explore the territory between the creative process (attention, commitment, imagination and pleasure) and the demands of structure (narrative, imagistic, performative and spatial). The class will begin on December 14th and end on January 18th. Specifics are coming soon!

For more information about Ken and his workshop, click here.

Priority BAPF Submission Deadline This Friday!The Bay Area Playwrights Festival ’09 priority deadline is fast approaching! Submitting your work by October 31 guarantees that it will be read (if PF receives 500 scripts by this deadline, no more submissions will be accepted). Don’t wait!

Click here

for full submission information.
University of California 4th International Script Competition:
Lark Play Development Center Submissions:

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Playwrights’ Opportunities

Production marks PF’s expanded role in nurturing new work

Playwrights Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of our generous and loyal funders: National Endowmen for the Arts, Grants For the Arts/Hotel Tax Fund, San Francisco Arts Commission, Bernard Osher Foundation, Dramatists Guild, Fleishhacker Foundation, Kurz Foundation, JetBlue Airlines, Mental Insight Foundation, Richard and Martha Baker Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Thendara Foundation, Tournesol Project, W.A. Gerbode Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and substantial multi-year support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as many generous individuals.

Playwrights Foundation, 131 Tenth St. 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103 (t) 415.626.0453 x110 (f) 415.626.1138
Amy Mueller, Artistic Director | Jonathan Spector, Associate Artistic Director | Sonia Fernandez, Administrative Coordinator
Eliza Leoni, Marketing Associate | Sarah Axelrod, Literary Intern | James Wilson, Administrative Intern

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Randy-writer as self-promoter

I tried for a long time to promote my play ON THE EDGE.   Except for readings I arranged, it has not been produced.   Maybe it is because of the nature of the play that it hasn’t been.   Maybe not.   In this regard, actors and members of the audience agreed that the subject matter and the explicit nature of it made the play difficult to watch; one friend even suggested that I change the ending so that audience wouldn’t leave the theater so depressed.   However, positive responses from audiences and professors and readers tell me I haven’t written a dud.

The reasons why I wrote the play and why I would like to see it produced are the same.   (One director shot me down when I said the play was important.)   My promoting it has moderated, significantly, now that I have a theater of my own and can produce it myself.   I no longer have to knock on the doors of theaters, present myself as a playwright, and have no one acknowledge me.   So I no longer expect a welcome or that a business card or my personality will carry any weight, and I’ve decided promotional tours by and large are a waste of time.

The creation of a theater/creative community arts center in Tucson hasn’t been smooth and swift. From the start, and with me spending a considerable of my own money, there was a reluctance of people to participate in the effort, even after an initial expression of excitement and saying it (the venue) was something they had been looking for.   For now I am content when three or four actors show up and we’re able to explore something new: of course with financial support we could reach out more.   So, I may not have progressed as far as I might’ve hoped (my play still has not been produced and the theater/creative community arts center may still be in its infancy), but I am still me, naïve maybe, and I won’t give up.   I still have my acting workshop this evening to give and feel some original ideas I have about acting are clicking.   Original?   I think so, but there is a good chance I’m wrong.   The germ for my concepts came from Angna Enters, America’s first solo mime artist, with whom I studied under at Baylor University.   She was fond of saying, “mime (to me movement also works) is everything the actor does on stage beyond words.”

Randy Ford

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TusCon 35! The best little Sci-Fi-Fantasy & Horror Convention in Arizona

      Dianna Gabaldon, the New York Times best-selling author of the OUTLANDER series and LORD JOHN books, will be the guest of honor at TusCon 35.  The Sci-Fi, Fantasy &Horror Convention is being held at the InnSuites Hotel (475 N. Granada, Tucson (520-622-3000 or 1-887-446-65890) November 7-9, 2008.

        Meet the authors and artists

        Panel Discusions


        Filk Suite…..Con Suite

        Lan Party

        Video Room……Anime

        Dealers Room…..Art Show & Auction

        Expanded Gaming

Memberships: $45

Driving from outside of Tucson!  Get current I-10 construction info at

InnSuites Hotel Tucson

475 North Granada  Avenue

520-622-23000 local; 1-877-446-6589 toll free

TusCon 35:  P. O. Box 2528

Tucson, Az  85702-2528


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Randy-Writer named after an Airforce base? True or false?

      My father and mother named me after an airforce base: Randolph Field.   It was where I was born and, for those of you who don’t know, not very far from the Texas hill country where my mother grew up.   “Hill” had more significance to us than a home because down the road from my grandfather’s gas station/store lived the Hills.   Tex Hill earned fame as a Flying Tiger and his father acquired respect as a pioneer preacher:   I’ve enjoyed telling people this most of my life.   Singing “Don’t Fence Me In,” we would cross a cattle guard and pay our respects to the elder Hills.

      I needed a connection with Tex Hill, though I never met the guy.   I imagined that, because I had never been around anyone as famous as Tex Hill and the fact that his folks were neighbors of my grandparents gave me something to brag about that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.   (More recently, in Tucson, we lived near a woman who dated Tex Hill in college: now isn’t that a testament to how small the world we live in is?)   I was back home when I went to college in San Antonio; my dad courted my mother at Alamo Stadium; I courted my wife there (since it’s located across the street from Trinity University where I met Peggy).   Truth, and maybe part myth.   It’s taken me a long time to get around to writing about any of this…and then suddenly today, a glaring trait of mine takes control and I find myself once again boasting, yes boasting about my roots, only this time I’m potentially doing it before the largest audience I’ve ever had.

      My grandfather’s gas station was a squat-shaped, block building.   It contained a wall my father laid for Daddy Carder.   If it weren’t built on a sweeping curve and smack against a steep hill, most travelers would’ve missed a chance to fill up.   (My mother claimed one of her legs was shorter than the other, yes shorter, because of running up and down that hill. Truth or fiction?”)   My grandfather needed an income when he retired from the Baptist ministry?   True.   But was he a “pioneer” Baptist preacher? Truth or myth?   Tex Hill’s father was truly a “pioneer” Baptist preacher (I may have this wrong; for all I know he may have been Methodist); a fact; there was a book written about him.   It was one of the few books we had in our house when I was growing up, almost true, because we had volumes of World Book (I kept my father from letting a salesman go.), and of course, the Family Bible. Up the hill above the gas station, easily twenty-yards up but much further if you used the zigzagged path, my grandfather’s block home still stands but is currently occupied by some stranger, while the roof of my grandfather’s business has since caved in.

      Ingredients for my fictional world are here.   It is a world of fact and myth, and I can’t always sort it out: what’s true and what’s false.   I was just old enough to talk when I started making things up. Now I consider that lucky.   Then people thought it was cute.   I don’t know where I would be today if they had tried to stop it.

Randy Ford

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Penelope Starr-Odyssy Storytelling event

      Come hear amazing musicians Michael Woodward, Namoli Brennet , John Wakefield, Simon Donovan, Linda Kavak and Marti van der Voort tell their musical stories at Odyssey Storytelling’s WORDS AND MUSIC on Thursday, October 30,  7 – 9 p.m.

     Words and Music ~ we’re adding a twist to our regular format: Stories from the world of music.  Six music loving folks will share stories about their musical life experiences and accompany their story with their instrument or voice.

      Hear them at the Club Congress, 311 E. Congress Street Tucson, Arizona ; doors open at 6:30.

Tickets are $7 at the door or buy reserve seats here:   

      Sign up today . . .

      What’s Your Story?  The Art and Craft of Personal Storytelling

      4-week Storytelling Class, November 13December 11, 2-4 p.m., Pima Community College , 401 W. Bonita, Tucson, Arizona $69

      Discover the secrets of selecting, perfecting and performing personal stories through a combination of instruction and interactive playful exercises.  Students will uncover their private reserve of stories, learn to organize a story, become more comfortable presenting to an audience and share feedback with the other storytellers. 

      Register for non-credit class DR107 at Pima Community College 206-6468

      For more info contact

      Penelope Starr, 520-730-4112,  

     Odyssey Storytelling creating connections ~ one story at a time


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