Monthly Archives: November 2008

Randy-a tribute to the creators of Philippine theater

      A noted columnist, Teadoro Doroy Valencia, who was know as the Drew Pearson of the Phillippines, allowed us to create a theater in Fort Santiago in less than a month.   It was not a small miracle (and Fort Santiago is a national shrine, where incarcerated Jose Rizal waited for his execution). Valencia, full of energy, took care of all of the details of the restoration of Manila during the Marcos era: clearing squatters out of the huge public square known as Luneta, sanitizing Paco Cemetery, creating a flower clock that told time, and maintaining clean public restrooms that flushed.

     Anything was possible in Teadoro Valencia’s world, or it seemed: a man who had a direct line to Emelda, then able to use his influenced he gained as a writer; now though no longer living his contributions to the Philippines and Philippine theater still are alive.

      Theadoro Valencia, as a writer, had great influence.   He used that influence to help PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association).   We can assume he knew the importance of PETA.   He saw the organization create and perform the first plays in Filipino.   From that beginning, they went on to produce over 400 plays that shaped the country’s theater history.   And I was there at the beginning.   I was amazed then and amazed now.   And they have recorded their triumph in “a collective biography” that provides a comprehensive yet intimate account” of the company’s history, from 1967-2007.

       Randy Ford

 PETA Releases ‘A Continuing Narrative on Philippine Theater’

posted on Tuesday June 3, 2008

       “After more than 10 laborious years of research, compiling, writing and editing, PETA is proud to bring to the public its 740 plus page book, chronicling its 40-year journey as a Filipino Theater company PETA Releases A Continuing Narrative on Philippine TheaterThe Story of PETA may be considered a collective biography that provides a comprehensive yet intimate account of its lifework, from 1967 to 2007.   It highlights the company’s unique approach and contribution to Philippine theater aesthetics, performance and pedagogy, and to popular education.

      “PETA began by asserting the then radical view of creating and performing plays in Filipino.   A solid record of some 400 plays written, translated, adapted, published and performed, shaped the company’s and indeed the country’s theater history, enriching it through theater forms and techniques that express local, national and universal themes.
     “PETA’s pedagogy and aesthetics for people’s theater, a unique and powerful curriculum for training in theater and the arts has inspired artist-teachers to share their skills, talents and experiences with others, directed toward individual human development and societal transformation.

     “This book presents a chronicle of the collective journey of men and women who have inscribed a powerful presence in Philippine theater history.   Woven together, their stories provide strings of hope and inspiration, a remarkable tapestry of dreams dedicated to Philippine theater, society, and nation.

    “As PETA enters its fifth decade of existence, it continues to nurture young artists who will metamorphose into artists-teachers-leaders and carry on the torch of art to inspire many to become cultural creatives.

     Launched during the 40th Anniversary Concert held at the PETA Theater Center on May 30, 2008, The Story of PETA is now available at a retail price of PhP1,499.00. For reservations and other inquiries, call PETA at 725.6244, 410.0821 or email”

Yes, this is part of Randy’s Story. I’m proud to have been around. Thank you Cecile
Guidote-Alvarez for taking me in.
Here is tribute to her found on the Internet: I hope you are getting well. With great love

and respect, Randy Ford

       “OVERWHELMING was the out pouring of love, admiration and gratitude to the magnificent Filipino Artist for Others, the Ramon Mag-saysay Awardee for Public Service, the brave founder of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and the Development Rehabilitation and Education through Arts, Ads By Google Philippines Photo Gallery   Free photos, screensavers & more! Browse our free galleries. Meet Filipino Beauties   Join Free And Browse Through 1000s Of Profiles For Friendship & More! Acting Schools   Locate Top Acting Schools.   Get Reliable Advice In Your  Media and Science (DREAMS).   Ensemble of the Earthsavers Movement and now stricken with cancer Cecile Guidote-Alvarez all in her bid to found a National Theater.       ”

The youngest RM Awardee (for Public Service) all her life Cecile has committed herself to assist in nation building, and in enhancing our national identity through the making and the workings of a national theater.

      “The accolades, fittingly enough began in the Holy Mass officiated by Rev. Fr. James (Mr. Theaterman) Reuter, S.J. who said in his homily: Cecile has three (outstanding) qualities talent, courage and sensitivity of soul.

     “Well represented in the program were the numerous people whose lives she had touched and influenced in one way or another.   And their names are legion, as Soxy Topacio was to call them, Ceciles children, childrens, children, and childrens childrens childrens and more.

      “The program entitled KAPATID: A Tribute to Cecile Guidote Alvarez was held at the Rev. Fr. James Reuter, S.J. Auditorium in St. Pauls College, Quezon City to which the guests had trooped, after relishing a light dinner.

       “Directed by Anton Juan, it reeled off with a brief theatrical offering by Frankie Riveras Sining Kambayoka Troupe come all the way from Marawi City in Mindanao.

      “Recounted were often-humorous anecdotes about the speakers brushes or encounters with tonights honoree a customarily adamant, relentlessly demanding woman of the theater Cecile Guidote-Alvarez.

      “National Artist for Literature Dr. Alejandro Reyes Roces recounted how he had always looked upon her as his adopted daughter ever since he had learnt that Cecile had never seen her biological father, like Anding, himself a guerrillero in World War II, Ceciles Dad (Mauricio Guidote, a USAFFE guerrilla captain) had died while she was still in her mothers womb.   And her mother Caridad Reyes had bravely submitted herself to a ceasarian operation without benefit of anesthesia in order that Cecile might be born (Talk about courage).

      “Actually, Cecile has three surrogate fathers Fr. James Reuter, S.J. who initiated Cecile into the broadcast theater that saw its full flowering in Balintataw; Dr. Alejandro Roces, who linked the efforts she pioneered in PETA to UNESCO for international cooperation; and Teodoro Doroy Valencia, who was hospitable to the concept of a Peoples Theater by allowing them to identify creative spaces for the public particularly Fort Santiago and Paco Park.

      “Bibot Amador of Repertory Philippines founded at about the same time as PETA (of which Cecile was the founder and director) sent a message which was heartily read by Joy Virata and ended truthfully with Cecile may not be a National Artist but she (definitely! LOG) is a National Treasure (as Bibot herself, is.   Too, there is still tomorrow and she may yet be come a National Artist, CCP President Nestor O. Jardin having been in the audience).

     ” Critic/playwright Dr. Isagani Cruz gave examples of how persistent Cecile can be as when Cecile called up Gani in their house and his child answered the phone and Gani told the child to say that he was out, and afterwards the child asked who is Cecile and he answered she is my best friend the child asked again   But, why didnt you talk to her if she is your best friend.   But still Cecile will call again and again until she will be able to talk to me.   And now that I have a cellphone I cant do that anymore.

      “PETAs artistic director Soxy Topacio related, that one time they had a show in Mara

     “PETAs artistic director Soxy Topacio related, that one time they had a show in Marawi City, they arrived at the airport but the plane had just left, so they call Cecile to inform her about the citation and Cecile told them to still go to Marawi in any way adding: If Mao-Tse-Tung could cross the Yang-Tse River, why cant you?   It was good they didnt leave the airport because the plane had to come back because of engine trouble, so they were able to go to Marawi City.

      “Excerpts from the works of PETA that we viewed, included those from: Bayaning Huwad; Dona Clara; Larawan.   Songs by Ateneo Glee Club Alumni with Rev. Fr. James Reuter, S.J. conducting and Rev. Sr. Sarah at the piano, a song by Joy Soler and a song and dance number by the DREAMSEarthsaver Movement composed of street children, resident of Smokey Mountain and disabled persons.

      “Among Ceciles may other children are Lino Brocka, Mario OHara, Rita Gomez, Lolita Rodriguez, Lutgardo Labad, Lorli Villanueva, Malou Jacob, Angie Ferro (although older than Cecile), Lily OBoyle, Bonjin Bolinao, Cecilia Bulaong Garrucho, Joy Soler, Pilar Garcia, Frankie Rivera, Soxy Topacio, Tommy Abuel, Nanding Josef, Nick Lizaso, Noel Trinidad, Jonee Gamboa, Leopoldo Salcedo, and many more.

      “The evenings scene stealer, however turned out to be that great actress, person, and theater woman, Cecile Guidote Alvarez, herself, when she delivered her tearful Pasasalamat.   She admitted to being afflicted with cancer and to having lost her hair.   When she found out that she had been cancer-stricken she asked: Why, Lord?   Is it not enough that I look after your blind, deaf, lame, street children, underprivileged, drug addicts and would-be artists?

      “So buoyed up was the honoree with all the warmth and love demonstrated her this evening, that she found the answer to her question: For this Tribute, this overpowering acclamation from all of you here tonight, might never have been.   And my hair is growing a little a sign that I am getting better… Then, this unflappable, untouchable, incomparable Grande Dame of Philippine Theater took off her shoes and danced (although my toes are black) and then she sang like Joy Soler, in a highly appealing manner.

      “The people kept on shouting We love you, we love you, we love you!   A glorious finale to a glorious albeit tear-jerking evening.

     ” We salute Cecile Alvarez (nee Guidote) a girl with a mission who gave it her all a magnificent artist, and above all, a great Filipina heroine.

    “Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy.”





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Randy Author-’tis Thanksgiving. Get over it!

      It was as a social worker that I earned a living.   And I hadn’t been educated or trained in that field: a creative mind served me better, and my empathy for the disabled, the homeless, the abused, and the mentally ill kept me going.   And it was as an innovator that I started programs that in one form or another are still helping people today.

      There had been a disabled person with spina bifida, and for most of his childhood his father denied him freedom by taking away his wheelchair.   One thing this person and I did together was to climb a mountain, a risky adventure for both us given that he didn’t have the use of his legs.   But there was his strong will.   And when we made it to top, after pushing and pulling a wheelchair together, there was a celebration and the biggest grin on his face.   He said the experience changed his life.   Then we had to get down, and that was just as harrowing.

      From that experience came the idea for an outdoor education program for disabled people, not unlike Outward Bound.   Deaf people went on a bicycle tour and from that a school for the deaf and blind established their own adventure program.   With pride I look back on that.   And on days when I lament where I am with my writing it helps to look back on that and other worthwhile diversions, a living skill center for the disabled, a number of programs for the homeless, and working to protect children.   But it’s not my purpose here to brag about any of this.

      This is how I’ve spent most of my life; a description of who I am; both substantial and fulfilling.   I should be satisfied.   But the writer in me won’t allow me to rest: I speak now of all of the material I have; and that’s the excuse that I gave for all of my diversions.   Forty years later and I wonder where has all the time gone?   But I need to relax.   Chill.   Even if I never write another play or story, I’ve had several full lifetimes, and on this Thanksgiving, it is something I’m thankful for.

      There is another connection this Thanksgiving between my past and me brought home by CNN yesterday and today, as they covered the tragedy at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai.   This place, when my wife and I walked in front of it a number of times within a week, was peaceful enough, and we had no idea of its significance.   More important to us was the coffee shop, where we would have our breakfast of dal.   In those days, in an arrangement that demanded our attention, there were people who slept on the sidewalks, as though they were logs put there for us to step over.   Since then, India has obviously changed, with the greatest acceleration of change (in front of the Taj Hotel) occurring within the last forty-eight hours.   ‘Tis sad people can’t get along.

Randy Ford

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Playwrights Foundation-Invest in the Future of American Theater

This Thanksgiving, Invest in the Future of American Theater

To our wonderfully loyal friends,

      Thank you ALL for your continued interest and support of our work invigorating the theater with new work and new voices.   For 32 years we have offered unparalleled support to exceptional contemporary playwrights early in their careers, like yourself and/or your colleagues and friends, many of whom go on to become the cultural ambassadors of our times.

      At this moment, Playwrights Foundation finds itself poised at the brink of a new beginning, coincidentally aligning with the hope and possibility raised by the recent election.   And yet, the ebullience of the moment is tempered by economic fears, presenting a daunting challenge for all of us.   Though we are keenly aware that the economy is at a pretty low ebb, we feel it is not the time to pull back in fear, but rather step forward and create the future we want to live in. It is critical that we all pull together to keep our work thriving.   The staff and board of PF remains steadfast in our support of modern playwrights and creative expression.   We are counting on you to help us meet the challenge and persist in the discovery of new playwrights.

      For the past eight years, PF has grown steadily, and with that momentum, we have exponentially increased our impact, and reach: In 2008 we launched two new programs specifically for Bay Area writers: PF Resident Playwrights and the INKubator Project; we continued to expand opportunities to over 175 writers; we partnered with 13 local and national producers to advance the work of exceptional playwrights; we were awarded a 3-year, $90,000 grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and we are now recognized as one of five leading new play development organizations in the country by our national peers.

      In the coming year we dearly hope to maintain increased staff support of all our programs, launch a new Playwright Mentorship and continue to take steps to accomplish our over-arching goal of founding a center for new play development on the West Coast.   As we work towards these accomplishments, our success will occur, in no small part, because of the generosity of loyal supporters such as yourself.

      Artistic expression plays such an important role at times like these, and yet arts organizations are increasingly vulnerable.   Investing in our work now, at any level, will guarantee that we weather this difficult time. Please consider making a stretch donation to keep our doors open.

      We have just witnessed the power of small donations on the national stage, and PF’s size means every dollar counts. If each of you gives only $25, we will make our end of year goal.   Your support will expand beyond the sum of its parts: it will ensure the future of American theater.

Our appreciation is immense, thank you.


Amy Mueller
Artistic Director


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Randy-Writing: “it will be slow in coming…”

      In one important way Harley Granville-Barker and Paul Baker thought the same way about the creative process.    The process, with all of its variations, is different for each individual.   Both men stressed this.   (See DIRECTORS ON DIRECTING edited by Toby Cole & Helen Krich Chinoy p.201 and INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES, EXERCISES FOR CREATIVE GROWTH by Paul Baker)   Yesterday, after reading Granville-Barker’s essay DIVERSITY INTO UNITY, when I was very aware of my own limitations as a writer, I overhead a woman talk about how earthshaking the realization was to her that she would never be a great actor or writer (even though she said was “good” at both endeavors).   She was very critical of herself.   Her criticism seemed to have had an enduring effect on her and seemed to have limited her.   This made me feel sad.   But I’m afraid she is not alone.   I’ve been there and was sympathetic, with my feeling impatient and seeking results, which means if I continue to think this way I won’t get where I want to go.   Baker was against quick results.   Granville-Barker wrote, “as related alike to the actor as to the play” (and I say playwright/writer), “it will be slow in coming to birth: the more unconscious the process the better…for it does not work alike with everyone, never at the same pace, never to the same measure.”   “It does not work alike with everyone.”   The phase is worth repeating.   And even remembering, while we rush to become somebody.   What are we trying to do anyway?   Isn’t it enough to be involved with the creative process and see what happens?   Or are we primarily after publication, recognition, fame, etc?

      It is as mentors I look to Baker and Granville-Barker.   And, as a teacher at Baylor University, Trinity University, and the Dallas Theater Center, Baker personally encouraged me, and his philosophy has helped me throughout my life.   And it was as an innovator that he most inspired me.   I highly recommend his INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES: EXERCISES FOR CREATIVE CROWTH.   (Copyright 1972 by Trinity University Press Library of Congress Card Catalog Number 73-169606 SBN# 911536-38-8)

      “The teacher is dealing with the god in the student.   His creative self is his god, usually never exercised or given a voice.   Each god has a different shape, a new sound; expresses itself in a rhythm, movement, color different from those of any other god.   It is impossible to understand the mystic depth of that god, its background, its many facets, its beginning before birth, its relationship to the whole anthropological history of mankind.   But you can know the student as god; you can enjoy with him discovery of the expressions emanating from that god.   You can speak to that creative act with love and understanding.   You can keep your own ego out of it.   You can encourage when you feel or see a glimmer of something new.”  Paul Baker

      And that’s what Baker did for me; he encouraged me with “love and understand.” He produced my plays. Thank you.

Randy Ford

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StoryCorp is coming to Tucson and launching National Day of Listening

      Hello from StoryCorps!   Thanks so much for posting about us; our MobileBooth team is excited to head to and hear from Tucson!   For your readers who aren’t able to make it to our MobileBooth stop in Tucson or elsewhere in the country, we are also launching a new initiative to make conducting these interviews easier.   This November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving, StoryCorps is launching the first-ever National Day of Listening.   We’re asking Americans to set aside an hour to record a conversation with a friend, family member, or loved one.   We’ve launched a separate website ( with more tools and tips, a downloadable guide, and an instructional video for recording family and friends the day after Thanksgiving and beyond.   Thanks so much for helping us build a movement to honor the people in our lives through listening to them.


From Odyssey Storytelling-Up-coming events and THE STORY CORPS is coming to Tucson, 2008/11/26 at 9:48 AMS

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The Playwrights Foundation-News Flash

November 25, 2008

PF Kicks Off INKubator with Anne Marie Healy’s What Once We Felt

PF completes the 2008 INKubator program with Anne Marie Healy’s What Once We Felt. A pilot program launched in 2008, the INKubator program (INK for short) is a series of one-two week intensive closed-door workshops, safe from the pressures of producers and public scrutiny. INK supports works nearing a premiere production or simply serves as an in-depth collaborative exploration for the development of new work.

In What Once We Felt, Ann Marie Healy creates a dystopian world where untainted DNA is class currency and Eugenics a fact of life. Macy is an ambitious hot author about to close a publishing deal that will catapult her to bestselling author and top off her charmed life as a Keeper. When a meeting with her agent takes a strange turn she is forced to grapple with an inescapable conflict between a flawless society and artistic freedom.

Ann Marie Healy’s play Have you Seen Steve Steven premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 2008. Her latest play When He Gets That Way were recently developed through the support of Soho Rep and MCC’s Playwrights Coalition. Now That’s What I Call A Storm was produced by Edge Theater Company in 2007. Somewhere Someplace Else was produced in 2003 with Clubbed Thumb in New York and with Frontera/Hyde Park in Austin (winner of two 2002-2003 Austin Critics Table Awards).

The workshop will culminate in a reading December 8 at 8:30 PM. For more info, e-mail Sonia Fernandez, Literary Manager, at

Read a feature on Anne Marie here.

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Ken Prestininzi’s Class
Last Chance To Enroll!

The Yale Associate Chair of Playwriting’s class, Creative Sparks Fly: How To Catch Them, is almost full!

To sign up, fill out the registration form here and then make your payment on our brown paper tickets page.

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Current Nobody Runs Through December 13

Just Theater’s production of Melissa James Gibson’s Current Nobody, a partnership with Playwrights Foundation, continues its run at Exit Theatre through December. The modern riff on Homer’s Odyssey combines the classic epic with an array of technical effects and distinctly contemporary issues to create a fresh but enduring production.

Information and tickets here.

Read an interview with playwright Melissa James Gibson.

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Randy-How to stick with a writing project

      It was not easy for James Joyce…with failing eyesight and a daughter with major mental problems…to finish FINNEGANS WAKE.   It had been an impossible task to begin with.   But he never gave up, and without much encouragement at that.   Then it hadn’t been easy for many other creative geniuses with similar problems: take for instance Beethoven and what he accomplished after he lost his hearing.

      Then there are the rest of us.   This has nothing to do with our trying to accomplish an impossible task.   It has everything to do with sticking with something which, because we were dissatisfied with the results or having listened to criticism, we set it aside for a while; and, after a little while longer, we had to admit we weren’t going to pick it up again.   The project had excited us once.   We had started it with a great amount of enthusiasm and spent many hours on it in front of a computer.   The story took form; it had a beginning, middle, an end; we had every intention of finishing it; then something happened.   It could be as vague as that.   And it would not have been all that hard for us to start again…even after losing momentum…but the story remained unfinished, destined for the closet.   This scenario has been all too common.   But it didn’t need to turn out that way.   Only a change here and there, getting back to the routine, was all that would’ve been needed; sitting down, finding the manuscript, reading what’s there, and changing a sentence or two.   Then we would have no trouble getting back on track and, yes, finishing it.   Oh, yes, it ‘s often the simplest things that make a difference.

      So I should be able to pick up and start over all my old unfinished projects. My biggest hurdle is procrastination and fear, yes, all kinds of fear. Okay, so I need to be fearless and not care so much. You’ve heard this from me before.

      Randy Ford

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