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Bill and Anisa George will perform the two-person drama The Marriage of Munirih Khanum 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, at Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts.

Sponsored by the religion department, the free performance is presented through the Lyman Coleman Fund.

The Marriage of Munirih Khanum is an original post-modern drama featuring the father-daughter theater duo of Bill and Anisa George. The play uses music, puppetry, traditional acting, shadow play, and movement to tell the story of a young woman’s attempt to understand how to live.

The story revolves around the birth, life, and eventual marriage to Abdu’l Baha (one of the foremost spiritual figures of the 20th century) of Munirih Khanum, and weaves together how she managed to survive terrible religious persecution — her uncle murdered, her father gone, her cousins eventually martyred — and her dreams and hopes of living a spiritual life in the confining rigors of 19th-century Persia. As the story unfolds, questions of fate, faith, death, the role of self, and how one is to find purpose are examined from the feminine perspective within a spiritual context that equates the importance of male and female values.

Bill George is a 1973 graduate of Lehigh University, received his MFA from Dallas Theatre Center, Dallas, Texas, and studied American mime in New York at American Mime Theater under Paul Curtis. He founded People’s Theatre Company and Touchstone Theatre; received the Fringe First Award from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland, for outstanding new work; received a 1995 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Solo Theatre Fellowship; and founded and co-directs Little Pond Retreat, a cultural arts center in the Pennsylvania countryside dedicated to encouraging artists to explore the divine with their art. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and Maryland State Arts Council.

George’s current projects include: collaboration with Touchstone Theatre on its new Christmas City Follies; an electronic/synthesized adaptation of Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed” with Jerry T. Bidlack; and The Marriage of Munirih Khanum. He has toured with his original work to England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout the United States; has been featured at International Physical Theatre Festival in Morelia, Mexico; performed as Minos in Touchstone’s Daedalus in the Belly of the Beast at Theatre of Nations in Santiago, Chile; participated extensively in numerous Shakespeare productions at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, where he directed the Intern Company in the Festival Green Show for four years; and was recently featured on the cover of American Theater Magazine as Prometheus in Touchstone Theatre and Cornerstone Theatre’s collaborative work, Steel Bound. He still treasures the memory of performing at the White House in the children’s medicine show, Yellow Moon Jamboree, and tours with his original works, The Kingfisher’s Wing and The Marriage of Munirih Khanum.

Anisa George is a Arabic and Eastern Studies major at University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She recently spent a year touring with her father to perform Marriage; working at Baha’i Temple in New Delhi, India; and teaching theater art in Kuwait. She played Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank at Moravian Academy, and has been performing continuously since she was cast as the Baby Jesus in Touchstone Theatre’s production of Christmas Revels when she was a few months old. At the age of nine she performed in the Street Theatre Production of Carl Sandberg’s Rootabaga Stories, and at 11 she played the lead role, Sarah, in The Little Princess for The Pennsylvania Youth Theatre. She is a photographer, tabla player, writer, dancer, and singer.

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