Diana Son Stop Kiss - Acting Edition

ISBN 13: 9780822217312

Stop Kiss - Acting Edition

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9780822217312: Stop Kiss - Acting Edition

Ben Brantley of the New York Times summed up the critical reaction to Diana Son's play Stop Kiss when he stated that it "generated the warmest advance word of mouth of any downtown production this season" and heralded it as a Barefoot in the Park for a new generation. Son's story is deceptively simple: two young women in New York meet, talk about their boyfriends, feel a growing, unspoken attraction for each other, and finally kiss. And that one innocent kiss sets off a savage gay-bashing. But even as Stop Kiss confronts the reality of physical violence, Son's imaginative, moving, and surprising comedy brings audiences -- and her principal characters -- to unexpected places.

Callie is holding down a job as a radio traffic reporter when she meets Sara, a midwesterner who, against her parents' wishes, has moved to the city to teach third-grade students in the Bronx. Both have boyfriends, but as they get to know each other, their shared experiences and sense of humor create a strong bond. The tragic consequences of their kiss -- the center of this powerful drama -- serve as both an indictment of hatred and a moving study of the perils inherent in living life fully.

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Review:

It doesn't do this play justice to say that much of the action takes place in a hospital room around the bed of a comatose woman. On the other hand, it may explain why critics have been so impressed. From unpromising material--standard urban settings, stilted exchanges, missed cues, private jokes, half-finished sentences--Diana Son has crafted a subtle, moving drama about vulnerability and risk. When Callie, a twentysomething New York traffic reporter, promises to take on a cat owned by Sara, "some friend of an old friend of someone," she arranges to leave quickly after Sara drops off the cat so that she doesn't get drawn into a dull evening with a stranger. Callie is an expert at avoiding conflict, which serves her well in the city. Sara, on the other hand, has willingly left her job at a Quaker school in St. Louis to teach third-graders in the Bronx. Although both are "straight" women, they circle each other warily, nursing an unspoken attraction. The playwright's choice to shuttle back and forth in time, between the hospital room and police station and the early days of Callie and Sara's friendship, lends a bittersweet quality to even their lightest exchanges, allowing us to wonder, along with the two women, whether the violent outcome of their single kiss makes it a bad idea. Stop Kiss revises Romeo and Juliet, with one thug and the mores of a nation standing in for the family feud. --Regina Marler

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