San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ–An Interview with Paul-David Halem

on May 19, 2014
Paul Halem Color

Paul-David Halem

Tell us about yourself.

I started out as an actor in New York in the sixties.  As a teen, I worked off off Broadway and did summer stock at the Bellport Theatre on Long Island.  At first, I went to Hofstra, which has a wonderful drama department, but I soon ran out of money.  In those days, there was a draft and once I lost my student deferment I quickly became red meat for the Vietnam War. Somehow four years in the Air Force seemed better than two years in the infantry.  As it turned out, the Air Force sent me to Bangkok as a nineteen year old and I was happily recruited by a theatre group that was associated with the American Embassy. After Bangkok, I finished out my service at Travis AFB in Northern California where I met my wife Sandi, who was a student at UC Davis.

When I finally finished up with the Air Force, I returned to school at San Francisco State and earned a BA in Drama in 1973.  For the next several decades I raised a family and started three businesses in San Francisco.  Really no time to work in the theatre.  In 2004, we moved down to Escondido and I discovered to my delight that San Diego has a wonderful theatre community.  Over the past 9 years, I’ve acted in a dozen plays and in 2010 my first play LIFE CYCLES had its world premier at PowPAC Theatre in Poway.  In the thirty plus years PowPAC has operated, my play was their first World Premier.  I am grateful they gave me the opportunity to see my play come to life.

THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ had its World Premier at the Broadway Theatre in Vista this past November.  I am delighted that Jerry Pilato of Different Stages has offered to stage another production at Swedenborg Hall in June 2014.

To both my surprise and delight, it seems that all those years as an actor helped me develop an ear for dialogue.  It is, indeed, a pleasure to discover late in life that I have a talent for playwriting.  Some people have asked what my process is when I write a play.  The fact is I don’t have a set format.  I just let the characters start talking and I find out what they want to say as I go along.  Probably not the way playwriting is taught, but it works for me.


Paul-David Halem and Jim Clevenger


A few years ago I was about to have the World Premier of my first play LIFE CYCLES at PowPac Theatre.  At that time, I noticed that Jim Clevenger, who was involved in the original staged reading, looked a lot like me.  We are both bald with generous noses and little beards that cover our double chins.  At that time, I mentioned to Jim we could play brothers.  I then said I was going to write a play where we could actually play brothers.  From that idea THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ was born.

The play could best be described as a warped comedy.  It is about two brothers who live together.  Not unlike ODD COUPLE, they could not be more different. Al is a very flaky Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Jack is a very straight arrow marriage counselor who, in fact, has never been married.  Jack has decided that Al needs to get off of the couch and back in the world.  With that in mind, he has invited two women to dinner.  It soon becomes evident these women are more than a little off and a series of dates will keep the audience guessing what in the hell is going to happen next.  Jim Clevenger and I play the brothers and Renee Gandola and Karen Schooley are wonderfully strange as the women in our lives.

Karen Schooley and Paul-David Halem

Karen Schooley and Paul-David Halem

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

As far as challenges with this play, I am pleased to say there were few.  Other than rewriting the ending and Jim putting in wonderful transition music between scenes, the play is pretty much as I wrote the first draft.  Nice when things work out that way.  Now that the play will have been produced twice I will need one more production for it to be published and promoted nationally.

What is your next step?

As far as my next goals, I have two new plays that I am now shopping and hopefully will have the opportunity to see them come to life too.

Thank you for talking with us Paul! Break a leg with THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ!

San Diego Premier
Written by Paul-David Halem
Directed by Jim Clevenger
Swedenborg Hall, San Diego
Produced by Jerry Pilato, Different Stages
The World Premier was at the Broadway Theatre, Vista, November 2013.
Runs June 14–June 28, 2014
Evening performances at 8 pm on June 14, June 21, June 27th and June 28th.
Matinee performances at 2 pm on Sat, June 21 and June 28th.
Check for special price tickets.



3 responses to “THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ–An Interview with Paul-David Halem

  1. Hope to make the June 28th matinee

  2. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    What is Different Stages? A workshop? A playwrights group? A small brave actors group that accepts new, unproduced work?

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