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From Bill – Family

October 11, 2012

This last weekend, my daughter Anisa married Dan Rothenberg. It was intense. First there was a musical gathering on Wednesday night for a little over 100 folks– musicians, actors, theatre people– a women’s gathering Thursday night where I had to hang out with the “ostracized” men, Friday night the Rehearsal Dinner, and finally the wedding on Saturday with one hundred and fifty family and friends. Again, filthy with musicians, theatre people, architects, and artists, let alone family. Lots and lots of family. But no one from Touchstone. In the midst of all this, Touchstone– my theatre family– was opening a new work– The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust.

I don’t want to get too psychotheraputic about this, but I’ve always felt that one of the reasons I am so dedicated to the process of Ensemble is because I’m constantly trying to rebuild my family around me. I was one of five children–three brothers and a sister. Just about the size of of cozy Ensemble.

The family that is me. I’m the one on the right, but I assure you, I’m made up of each individual in this picture.

It may be relevant that Anisa has married Dan Rothenberg, who is also an Ensemble Theatre Artist–a group called Pig Iron Theatre, based in Philadelphia. The values of Ensemble tend in the direction of that of family– a mutually supporting group of individuals working over a long period of time to advance as individuals and collectively. The relationships grow and deepen with time, bringing meaning that cannot be replicated quickly. It’s why there’s so much laughter, and of course, why there are so many tears and anxieties. It’s not an easier way of living, or making theatre, just one that, I judge, brings more meaning.

A Wedding Photo– the Rothenbergs on the left, the Georges on the right.

One of the challenges of working/creating/living with deeply held relationships is that it costs you. And this last weekend was an example of that. Jp Jordan, Artistic Director of Touchstone and a co-worker and friend of mine for seven years now, was opening his new play, In Pan We Trust. Because of the wedding, I couldn’t be there, and because of the play, he couldn’t be at the wedding. In fact, since everyone at Touchstone was wrapped up in the production, the wedding was without many of  my Touchstone buddies. And vice-versa. That sucks. Still, there’s a lesson in that. In order to preserve our ties, we must be true to them and forgiving when we cannot be there for each other. That requires real trust in our partners and a constant effort to encourage them to take care of themselves, not to impose our needs unnecessarily or immoderately on the other.

It’s a regular maturity clinic. I don’t profess to being good at it, only that I think it’s a good thing for me to try and do. And in the end, the rewards far outweigh the costs.

My Touchstone Family, missing Lisa and Kathryn. I’m assuming Emma’s in the Panda costume and Kyle’s in the booth.

By the way, just one more weekend of In Pan We Trust. I’m going to be there every night (gotta make up for not being there last weekend). Hope to see you there.

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