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From Bill – Creating Holden

October 17, 2015
Holden—the protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, and title of Anisa George’s new work from George & Co., now performing at Fringe Arts in Philadelphia.

Holden—the protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, and title of Anisa George’s new work from George & Co., now performing at Fringe Arts in Philadelphia.

First a few words about the image above. Matteo on the left, Adele walking center, Scott in the red t-shirt, and Anisa all pregnant, leaning on her elbow, and supervising the rehearsed moment on the far right. I think it’s Alex on sound with the laptop.

It was close to a year ago that Anisa called together a handful of friends – designers, directors, choreographers, actors – to Dan and her home to read a script she’d drafted with her co-workers (There will be important collaborators I fail to mention, but certainly Jaime – eventually to play Chapman – must be named). That’s about when I started getting involved.

Emma has asked me to write a bit about it, but it’s hard for any number of reasons. First of all, I’ve worked with Anisa making theatre since before she could talk, and creating a piece like this with her is a profound life-privilege, if you know what I’m trying to say. It also is a professional gift, as the piece is easily one of the most beautiful works I’ve ever had the good luck of being a part. I am deeply grateful to Touchstone for giving me the permission to do this piece at not great levels of remuneration – which means Touchstone is supporting me a bit.

Anyway, there’s a long but fairly entertaining interview Anisa masterminded about our working together, art within the family, that whole thing. I encourage you to listen.

Scott and Mateo rehearse, Anisa supervising, a moment in Holden.  Anne, our stage manager, is over on the right with the blue scarf.  Matteo’s character (Zev), on the right, is teasing Scott’s (Hinckley) about being a “rhyming prosey man”.  They’ll soon be on the floor wrestling.

Scott and Mateo rehearse, Anisa supervising, a moment in Holden. Anne, our stage manager, is over on the right with the blue scarf. Matteo’s character (Zev), on the right, is teasing Scott’s (Hinckley) about being a “rhyming prosey man”. They’ll soon be on the floor wrestling.

The whole question of why do this stuff always bounces around, sometimes hitting me in the face and at others just…bouncing, never to go away I guess. After all, Holden will see, after so much plain ol’ grunt work, anxiety, hope, and assiduous loving labor, at best, a thousand people. The kind of dedication required is profound, the remuneration that results pitiful. It’s a cliché that isn’t very funny and it speaks to the values of our culture in ways that can’t be dealt with here. I simply wish to say, I’m grateful.

I was lying up stage of Salinger’s cot on the set at Fringe Arts as pregnant Anisa, hardly able to move (she’s due in just three weeks), worked with Scott (again and again) on a particular movement phrase;  I decided to sneak out my phone to take a little video.

The stage:  it’s a magic and even holy place when enchanted by a loving and honest act of dedicated creation.  I thank God I am permitted to express my gratitude for the gift of life through this act of collective creation.

Closing performance tonight! Come see us!

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