Harry Kondoleon arrived on this planet in 1955 and started observing its inhabitants and their curious customs shortly thereafter. His parents were named Sophocles and Athena, though their friends in Queens called them Cliff and Tina. He shared a birthday with his two-years-older sister Christine. He spent a year in Bali where he saw witches dance and caught typhoid fever. He majored in cutthroat competition at the Yale School of Drama and for more than a decade studied heartbreak and rage with New York City’s daily newspaper critics. Traces of his life on Earth inevitably turned up in his plays: the eerie symbiosis of siblings, the ancient pleasure of putting on a show, the absurd realities of show business, the magic of delirium, the perversity of divine forces wearing masks as mundane as potato salad.
Yet much that goes on in the world of Kondoleon’s imagination escaped any explanation biography has to offer. His sneaky way, for instance, of writing comedies that begin in recognizable living rooms and then spiral imperceptibly into poetry — where does it come from? That, like the love his characters urgently seek, is a mystery that remains intact.
Kondoleon’s best-known plays include Christmas On Mars, The Vampires, Zero Positive, Slacks and Tops, The Fairy Garden, The Cote D’Azur Triangle, The Brides, Rococo, The Poets’ Corner, Anteroom, Play Yourself, Love Diatribe, The Houseguests, and Saved or Destroyed. His plays have been performed at theaters across the country and around the world, and they have earned him two Obie Awards, the Oppenheimer/Newsday Award, and a Drama-Logue Award. In addition, he has received Fulbright, Rockefeller, NEA, and Guggenheim fellowships.
Several of his plays were published by Theater Communications Group in an anthology entitled Self Torture and Strenuous Exercise. He is also the author of a volume of poetry, The Death of Understanding, and two novels, The Whore of Tjampuan and Diary of a Lost Boy. The latter was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1994, two months before Harry Kondoleon died of complications from AIDS.
Harry Kondoleon, 1992, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1121509)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Self Torture and Strenuous Exercise by Harry Kondoleon
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Theatre Communications Group (January 1, 1993)
Amazon: Self Torture and Strenuous Exercise
Diary of a Lost Boy: A Novel by Harry Kondoleon
Paperback: 211 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Riverhead ed edition (October 1, 1995)
Amazon: Diary of a Lost Boy: A Novel
The final work of the Obie Award-winning playwright of Zero Positive is a glowingly upbeat testament to life and love, gay and straight, now and forever. Susan and Bill are a New York couple who promise to care for their HIV-positive friend, Hector. But suddenly their marriage is breaking up--and Hector has placed himself smack in the middle.
Out Front: Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Plays
Paperback: 564 pages
Publisher: Grove Press (May 1988)
Amazon: Out Front: Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Plays
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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