For five years, Renee Newlove was co-producer of the Rogue Performance and Arts Festival in Fresno; she is currently a Rogue board member. For the past decade, she’s been involved in theater arts, and she’s also a middle school English teacher in Selma, California. Before participating in a panel on where and how people experience art in the Central Valley today, she explained in the Zócalo green room what she’d ask Shakespeare about if they sat down for a beer, and why she puts ranch dressing on everything (at least once).
What one person, living or dead, would you love to have a beer with?
William Shakespeare, without a doubt. I just want to talk with that guy and pick his mind. I’d talk to him about his dead kid and why he created Hamlet, and ask what it is about love that’s gotten him so mixed up.
What play or performance changed your life?
The production of Wit up in Ashland, Oregon. That was probably the first performance I ever saw where I absolutely bawled. It’s an amazing show and not done nearly enough on stage.
How would you describe yourself in five words or less?
Rowdy, eclectic, precocious, loving.
What keeps you up at night?
My students. Teaching eighth grade. [Laughs.]
What’s your favorite young adult novel?
Currently, Divergent. That whole trilogy is really amazing because the ending doesn’t give me what I want—it’s not the ending I would’ve wanted to have as the ending, and it’s amazing for that.
What would you bid for on eBay?
Exercise equipment that I probably won’t use.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Way over 150! My last count was 150, and that was three years ago. I’m kind of a shoe whore.
What’s the first monologue you learned by heart?
From The Taming of the Shrew, and it’s Kate on the role of women, her last monologue.
What do you proselytize for?
What’s your favorite condiment?
Ranch dressing. You can put it on everything. Even the things you probably don’t think it should go on, I still try. At least once.