Half Off

Synopsis:

For the first time since Zero Positive (1988), the theatre itself returns as a central metaphor in a Kondoleon play. The theatrical “bridal pageant” that opens Act II is only one of several artistic happenings in Half Off. Songs, paintings, dances, theatrical displays – all have healing powers. The arts are everywhere, begging a comparison to a late Shakespeare play, The Tempest, which shares with Half Off a melancholy sense of farewell to the theatre and to life. (See the complete text of Howard Shalwitz’s director’s note here.)

Production History:

During the play’s development, Playwrights Horizons hosted a reading of Half Off directed by the author on November 18, 1991. The cast was:
Cody: Jennifer Dundas
Buddy: Josh Hamilton
Libby: Jane Cronin
Suzanne: Elizabeth Wilson
Walter: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Mr. Astro: Larry Block

Half Off was first produced in Washington, D.C., by the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company on October 18, 1993. It was directed by Howard Shalwitz with sets by Joe B. Musumeci, Jr., costumes by Jane Schloss Phelan, and lighting by Daniel MacLean Wagner. The cast was:
Cody: Jennifer Selby Albright
Buddy: Andrew Friedman
Libby: Loretto McNally
Suzanne: Nancy Robinette
Mr. Astro: Michael Willis
Walter: Grover Gardner

The play was subsequently produced in New York at Theater for the New City in February 1997. It was directed by Tom Gladwell with sets by Donald L. Brooks and costumes by Allison Ronis. The cast was:
Libby: Crystal Field
Mr. Astro: Larry Fleishman
Suzanne: Melissa Hurst
Buddy: Andy Reynolds
Walter: Stephen Sinclair
Cody: Laura Wickens

Published:

The play has not been published.

Press:

“Playing Death for Laughs,” Washington Post feature story
Lloyd Rose’s Washington Post review of the 1993 production
Ben Brantley’s New York Times review of the 1997 production

Production Photos:

Melissa Hurst and Crystal Field in the Theater for the New City production

If you’ve ever seen or worked on this show and would like to share your experience, please comment below.