New Jersey Stage 2017: Issue 6 - Page 103

That’s the premise behind Ken Weitzman’s play, Halftime With Don, which has its World Premiere at New Jersey Reper- tory Company (NJ Rep) in Long Branch from June 22 to July 30. The production is a Na- tional New Play Network Rolling Premiere that will travel to The Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis and the B Street Theatre in Sac- ramento, CA. Directed by Kent Nicholson, the cast includes Malachy Cleary, Susan Maris, Daniel McVey, and Lori Vega. Halftime with Don is a play that does more than re- gale a player’s greatest game, it delves into an issue that has moved to the forefront of sports in the past decade - concussions and the permanent damage in- flicted on the body. It examines that and more. “It’s about the physical and mental toll playing a colli- sion (not just a contact) sport NJ STAGE 2017 - Vol. 4 No. 6 can bring about,” explained Weitzman. “It’s also about the collateral damage it causes for the players’ loved ones, in this case the player’s daughter.” Weitzman spoke to former players and read extensively on the subject. “I felt it very impor- tant to get it right, to truly cap- ture the experience,” he said. The National Football League settled a lawsuit over head in- juries to former players for $1 billion in 2015 and League ex- ecutives have publicly acknowl- edged a link between football and brain damage. Football has always been a violent game since the days players wore leather helmets, but the League has steadily introduced rules thatremove some of the most vi- olent aspects and better protect the players. In doing so, the NFL has raised the ire of some fans who complain that these rules have made the game “soft.” INDEX NEXT ARTICLE 103