TJT is closing in less then two weeks. Here are my program notes for the farewell event we’re presenting on May 14. (go here for tickets) . Below my notes, you’ll find Robert Avila’s eloquent send-off article from American Theatre Magazine.
When I co-founded TJT, I was 33. Last February, I turned 67. For over half of my life I’ve worked within a single artistic home, something rare and wonderful in the embattled American theatre.
TJT’s story, like all great ones, can be told from many points of view. Its meanings, interpretations and meanders are inexhaustible. It’s the story of making theatre. Of several particular individuals. Of a unique moment in American-Jewish cultural history. Of love, betrayal, failure, triumph, ingenuity, creativity, frustration, collaboration, selfishness, sacrifice, transcendence and foolishness.
Though I thought I knew a thing or two at 33, it was the people, the work and the years inside TJT that taught me to act, to write, and to collaborate with depth and full commitment. Inside this artistic home, which was really an entire landscape, I became who I might otherwise not have been.
Within TJT’s large story, uncountable personal stories reside. Mine include the story of my parents’ unlived ambitions to write and act in the theatre. The story of my friendship – the longest of my life – with Naomi. For 44 years we’ve inspired, challenged, angered and cared deeply about each other. It’s the story of Albert and me, singing, dancing, creating, fighting and laughing with each other. The story of Aaron and Sara, the “next generation,” who embraced what we’d made and gave their all to grow it into this crazy century.
I met my wife, China Galland, after an early San Francisco performance in 1982 and fell, immediately and irrevocably, in love. Though she has her own formidable career as a writer, activist and teacher, she recognized from that first meeting what TJT was – to me personally, and to the community – and has supported it, and me in more ways than I have room here to enumerate.
TJT’s story will infuse everything I do for the rest I my life.
[click on article for enlargement]