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Cass Foster

Prior to joining the faculty at Central Arizona College as director of theater, Cass Foster served on the faculty at Ohio State University. During his tenure at OSU the idea of creating a Sixty-Minute Shakespeare series developed. "I was regularly receiving requests from secondary ed teachers seeking assistance in introducing Shakespeare. Many had trouble grasping the entire text while others didnÕt have the time to stage the entire play." So Professor Foster created a 60-minute series that reduced the language without contemporizing it. "I have too much respect for his language to change it. I had a sense if students had less material to master that would remove some of their anxieties about studying Shakespeare. My instincts were correct. Not only did they feel less threatened—they walked away wanting more. I am very pleased at what this series is accomplishing in elementary, secondary and post education." Besides writing and teaching, Professor Foster is active as a director and fight choreographer. The theaters and universities where he has worked include Players Theatre Columbus, Grand Canyon Shakespeare Festival, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Otterbein College, Capital University, Phoenix Theatre, Lyric Opera, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, Sedona Repertory Theatre, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. His next writing project is taking on fairytales. Hansel and Gretel: ÁAy, Caramba! is the working title of his bilingual adaptation of the familiar story created by the Brothers Grimm. He claims to maintain plenty of dramatic tension and at the same time eliminate the abandonment of children by a step-parent and the killing of a witch. "I have step-grandchildren between the impressionable ages of 3 and 8. Hansel and Gretel can serve as a tremendous vehicle to show how children can overcome obstacles [and] survive on their own wits as they explore the value of family and sacrifice. And we can accomplish this without them going to bed at night wondering if their step-parent might entertain some of the thoughts in the original version. This is a perfect example of where modernizing is actually good."