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Curtain Rises: Father & child reunion with Touchstone Theatre co-founder Bill George and daughter Anisa George in ‘The Last Play’

Touchstone Theatre is presenting the world premiere of “The Last Play,” March 24 - April 2, Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem.

“The Last Play” is a two-person show created and performed by real-life father and daughter Bill and Anisa George.

Audience members will experience the duo’s journey through the art and life they have created together in this retrospective look at parenthood and performance.

Anisa George has shared the stage with her father Bill George ever since she was a baby. Bill George co-founded Touchstone Theatre in 1981 where he was producing director until 1990. After taking a hiatus to pursue personal works, he returned to Touchstone as an ensemble member in 2003. In 2022, Bill George retired from Touchstone, where he now is an ensemble member emeritus.

Over the years, the duo has created 10 shows together. Anisa George recently turned 40 and “The Last Play” asks what has she learned from her father over the years.

In “The Last Play,” Anisa George and Bill George look back and examine performances that they have created on stage and in their lives off-stage. They ask themselves, “What mistakes have we made along the way?” and “If we could go back and do it differently, what would we change?”

“It is emotionally raw,” says Anisa George. “There will be yelling and crying on stage. It is going to be vulnerable, alive in the moment, and there might even be times where you wonder if anyone is in control.

“But, at its core, it is a ritual I am doing with my father, who gave me theater. My father is theater. Theater is my father. If I’m on stage with him making theater, that’s all I need.”

They describe the production as a “set list of storytelling moments,” with Anisa George and Bill George as themselves, unscripted and reliving memories of their past.

“It’s a celebration of all of our work together and our life together,” Anisa George says. “It’s a lot about parent-child relationships as well as art-making. It’s very universal. You are seeing a father-daughter relationship alive on stage.”

Audiences will experience a different performance each night since the story will take different paths depending on the responses Bill and Anisa receive from that night’s audience.

“This is a glimpse into a lifetime ahead for young theater artists,” says Bill George. “It’s a showcase of all the ways it can go wrong or right. Very seldom do young people have the opportunity to talk with their fathers like this. If you could ask your father anything right now, what would you ask him?”

The duo says “The Last Play” may or may not be their final performance together, but it is, above all, an examination of endings.

“The Last Play,” 8 p.m. March 24, 31; 2 p.m. March 31, April 2, Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourth St.. Bethlehem. Tickets: 484-767-2456; http://touchstone.org

“Keely and Du” at Crest:

In honor of Women’s History Month, Performing Arts at Cedar Crest College will present Jane Martin’s controversial play “Keely and Du” March 23 - 25, Samuels Theater, Cedar Crest College.

The play, written in 1992, which addresses abortion, women’s rights and the right to life, was a finalist for the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The play centers on Keely, a rape victim who becomes pregnant from a sexual assault and is being held captive by an extremist anti-abortion cult to prevent her from terminating the pregnancy. Du is the cult member who is guarding her.

The play, directed by Clair M Freeman, is described as “not for the faint of heart” and with the repeal of Roe v Wade in 2022, the subject matter in the play is pertinent.

“Keely and Du,” 7 p.m. March 23-25; 2 p.m. March 26, Samuels Theatre, Cedar Crest College, 100 College Drive, Allentown. Tickets: 610-740-3780; https://www.cedarcresgt.edu

“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY EMMA ACKERMAN Anisa George, Bill George, “The Last Play,” Touchstone Theatre.