About Me

DSC_2677 - Version 2I am a lover of movies and plays, and have been since before I became a high school actor, way back in the last century.  The constant in my life has been going to the theatre and finding a good movie.  An English major in college, I have an MA in International and Comparative Education and an MFA in Drama.   I’ve had a career teaching drama in secondary schools and colleges.  I’ve written scripts no one has ever heard of, taught courses, coached actors, and directed on a variety of stages.

I’ve been happily married for 52 years.  My wife and I have two terrific kids, who are now grown with terrific kids of their own.  And we are currently partnered with two loving mutts and a cat.  Joan is an artist and writer, author of the recently published Scattering ashes: A Memoir of Letting Go.  She shares my love for theatre on a modest level, but is not a fan of theatre-bingeing.  Instead, she keeps me relatively sane,  and we go to New York together to see maybe only 2 plays, along with walks in the park, naps,  restaurant searches, and maybe a good movie or two that we can’t find at home. We live in Charlottesville, Virginia, a beautiful college town which hosts Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia.  I remain active in the healthy if cash-strapped local theatre scene, where this May will see the production at Live Arts of a long-held personal ambition:  Death of a Salesman, under my direction.

And for the last 50 years or so, maybe twice a year, when I can’t stand the peace and quiet any longer,  I’ve been getting  on the train  and heading to New York (or another theatrical mecca) by myself, for a theatre binge.  The challenge is “How many plays and movies can be squeezed into a 4-night hotel room budget cap?”

On the state of the world and my country, and the responsibility of the theatre world to deal with it,  I get angry, frustrated, bewildered, optimistic, defeated, and ready to “bring it on.”  It’s probably best for all concerned if I limit my actions to words.  If I can’t help myself, I will do that here too.

Bill Rough


10 Responses to About Me

  1. Mervyn Kaufman says:

    I love your review, its pungent commentary and its sense of immediacy. So much of today’s film and theater criticism is built around hate, but yours seems a clear reflection of your affection and respect for the art. I, personally, don’t enjoy theater where the actors leave the stage and toy with the audience—sit on their laps or climb on their seat backs. On one occasion I did enjoy that, however. The play, “The Great Sebastians,” was a vehicle for the Lunts, who liked to travel with their shows, which is why they were in L.A., my hometown. The play was slight, like most Lunt vehicles except “The Visit,” focused on a couple of so-called mind-readers. He’d step down into the auditorium and focus on a patron’s wallet…or watch…or pen…any object; then using key words unknown to us clue Fontanne, blindfolded on stage, would identify them. It was magical. Spiderman? I doubt that I’d care a fig if he landed on a balcony ledge 3 feet in front of me, though I might worry a bit about his safe return to the stage. Thanks for your assessment. I’m sure you’re the only intelligent patron who’ll ever see and report so convincingly on this $65 million enterprise.
    —Merv Kaufman

  2. Chris Ryan says:

    Good to see you on-line Bill. I will check in on your blogsite from time to time.

    Happy New Year to you and Joan.

    Chris Ryan

  3. patti stark says:

    I too am glad that you are on-line, Bill. I have always heard about your “jaunts” to the Big Apple, but now I can read about them. A West Coast Mountain Girl has to get her information somehow, and what better way than through you.

    My best to you and Joan in you New Life!

    Patti Stark

  4. Thanks, Bill! Great reading. 🙂


  5. Bill, Peter and I were discussing the play Dead and Breathing. We each saw & heard the some play, words, actors ….. but we had some OPPOSITE feelings after the show. I was hoping your review of that play had made it to your website/blog. Why did I see the hospice nurse, Veronika, as the Christ like person Carolyn finally comes to accept but Pete didn’t see that image at all? I would interested in your take or thoughts on that play. So glad to have met you and your wife due to the tornado! Small world isn’t it? Maybe heaven is the same too! Eleanor B Pella

  6. Bob Coolbaugh says:

    Bill: I am restoring your Mother’s Monocoupe, NC12027 here in Virginia, at New Market. This project should end up in a Museum and also should have the best documentation available on its racing history and the pilots who flew her. I have collected some small information on Helen’s association with NC12027 and am always seeking copies of records, logbooks, photographs to add to the display documentation which will accompany the plane. Would you be interested in allowing me to copy any artifacts you have? Many thanks! Bob Coolbaugh

  7. Sharlene Corliss says:

    Hi Bill,
    Had my 45th class reunion recently and Sue Desrocher and I were talking about our acting days and the fun we had with you as our drama teacher. I told her about the time I helped shovel and wheel stone into your basement on Hill Street and babysitting for you. Also the time you took me to the hospital with my son Frank when he fell over in a cardboard box and hit his ear in the wood stove and had to gave stitches.. Oh, how much simpler life was then. Just wanted to say hi and let you know you were and still are one of the teachers I admired and thank for helping get me through high school, and give me support when needed. I loved drama! Did some with the St J Players for a few years and even got my youngest daughter interested. Will check your site now and then. Take care.
    Sharlene (Noyes) Corliss

  8. Ben McLaughlin says:

    Hello Mr. Rough.

    My name is Ben, I am an aspiring actor and playwright.

    My mother is a former student of yours and turned me onto your blog.

    I would love to speak about breaking into the professional writing business, and perhaps some feedback on some pieces I’ve written.

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