Arts and Culture

This Play Opens Up

On The Harsh Realities

of LGBTQIA+ Romance

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, July 04, 2019 7:00pm

Art by Ahl Mirambel

Arts and Culture

This Play Opens Up On The Harsh Realities of LGBTQIA+ Romance

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, July 04, 2019 7:00pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
 

We have come a long way in fighting for the freedom to express who we are. More people are fighting for equal rights, especially the LGBTQIA+ community. But even with the liberty to express themselves and love who they love, there are still impending issues going on in the fight for equal rights, and Stop Kiss serves as a painful reminder of a horrifying reality the LGBTQIA+ community still continue to face. And more than that, the play serves as a reminder for us to keep fighting the good fight.

Stop Kiss is a 1998 off-Broadway theatre play written by American playwright Diana Son. Back in 2003, Stop Kiss found its way towards the Philippine stage. New Voice Company produced this stage play under the direction of Monique Wilson and it starred Jenny Jamora as Callie and Missy Maramara as Sara.

Stop Kiss tells the story of an unlikely romance between two women in New York; Callie, a traffic reporter (first played by Jessica Hecht), and Sara, a school teacher (first played by Sandra Oh). When they finally shared their first kiss one night in a park, a disapproving man attacked them, leaving one in a critical condition (and possibly permanently brain damaged).

Stop Kiss will take center stage in the Philippines once again for a new run and here’s why you shouldn’t miss it: 

Jenny Jamora and Missy Maramara perform a sneak peek of Stop Kiss. Photo by Ahl Mirambel/Inside Manila

Stop Kiss is an Award-winning Play

After its premiere in The Public Theatre in New York, Stop Kiss won different awards like the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Award, 1999 Theatre World Award for an Actor (Sandra Oh), and Berilla Kerr Award for playwrighting (Diana Son). It is also nominated for the 1999 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. Stop Kiss can sell itself just with these awards, promising a worthwhile watch for the audience.

Two Decades Later and the Play is Still Relevant More than Ever

There’s recent news about a hate assault in London in which a group of men harassed a lesbian couple, and forced them to kiss. The hate crime the LGBTQIA+ commonly face is one of the alarming realities Stop Kiss sheds light on. One is bound to feel a bit more outraged given the subject matter, and an inclination to empathize more.

Assistant Production Manager for Marketing Camille Abaya discusses recent LGBTQIA+ hate crimes. Photo by Ahl Mirambel

The Play Has a Non-Linear Story Line

Stop Kiss doesn’t tell the story in chronological order. It takes scenes from the past then back to the present or vice versa. So it isn't simply leading up to the violent hate-crime incident. Through its linear structure, we get to see the connections forged in between parties and the lives surrounding them. And more importantly, it transports us into the depths of a society where intolerance is an unspoken fact.

It Goes Beyond Violence, Romance, and Politics to Tell a Deeply Human Love Story

Relationships and intimacy are slightly more complicated story for same-sex couples, and Calliie and Sara show us the unfiltered realities of it. Through two complex characters, we will come to appreciate a beautiful and healthy lesbian relationship on stage—and hopes that we do so in real life. Though Stop Kiss highlights the couple, the play is more of Callie’s journey; a character who doesn't always make the most admirable decisions, but her choices are quite human, just as we are all humans before we are our genders, relationships, and careers.

Equality is Its Advocacy

Stop Kiss strives to promote someone’s right to choose who they want to love. It’s more than just a play on lesbian representation or LGBTQIA+ romance. It’s also about standing up for our selves and the fights we make to proclaim our rights, no matter what society thinks.

The 2019 Production is Promising

Monique Wilson directed the first Stop Kiss production back in 2003. Now, award-winning director Ed Lacson Jr. took the challenge of heading this LGBTQIA+-themed play. He gets ideas from a women’s point of view with the help of his main cast. He is also the stage designer for this production. This is co-presented by Positive Space, an up-and-coming group of young creative professionals with a passion for telling stories through theater; MusicArtes, Inc., a private music theater production; and New Voice Company, one of the Philippines’ premiere theatre companies.

Director Ed Lacson Jr. talks about Stop Kiss. Photo by Ahl Mirambel/Inside Manila

 

Stop Kiss Has Benefit Shows For Organizations

Apart from promoting equality, Stop Kiss also aims to support certain organizations dedicated to women and members of LGBTQIA+ community. On its July 13, 3 pm run, 20 percent of the proceeds will go to SPARK or Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran, non-profit organization committed to the development of women and women’s organizations as full partners in national development. On July 20, another benefit show will be held for Galang Philippines, a “lesbian-initiated, lesbian-run feminist human rights organization.”

They are all excited for Stop Kiss! Photo by Ahl Mirambel

Some may see Stop Kiss as a simple theater play, but it also aims to spread awareness, spark conversations, and push for an inclusive environment. It also screams pride. As Son says “Unquestionably, the last beat of the play is: love wins.”

If you want to know more about Stop Kiss, catch them on July 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and July 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 3 p.m at The Power Mac Center Spotlight in Circuit Makati!

 

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