SAMANTHA KOLB | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST
I didn’t know much about the play except for the bare outline I’m sure most people were given. Two aquaintences, Callie and Sarah, end up falling for one another, and one gets beaten into a coma after they kiss. There is crude language involved, and the show jumps forwards and backwards in the plot until it meets in the middle (which is the end) when they kiss.
The plot basically follows tired New York traffic reporter Callie Pax (Sarah Conard) as she decides to take in a friend-of-a-friend’s cat. Sara (Lindsey Bosetski) drops off her cat and the two end up building a friendship. Sara moved from St. Louis to get away from her family and boyfriend and finds her freedom in the city. The two build a relationship deeper than simple friendship, and this unfolds naturally and beautifully on stage. The supporting cast included an unfriendly officer (Terrance Bohl), Callie’s friend with benefits George (Ben Paplham), a compassionate nurse with a friendly smile (Molly Farrell), Sara’s boyfriend from St. Louis determined to take her back (Richard Kohlhaas) and the eyewitness who threw her spider plants at the attacker (Sammi Dyson).
I was truly drawn into the story. Even though the fashions and phone placed this play back in the late 90’s, the issues regarding homosexual relationships are relevant even today. Violence towards LGBTQ individuals still happens in 2016, and the reasons for such hatred still have no basis other than fear. “Stop Kiss” allowed a sneak peek into the lives of two people who fall in love, and as you watch you grow to love them, as well. They are incredibly human in their actions, from singing along to the radio and dancing alone in their apartment to showing a kind gesture towards the one they love. Everything that unfolds before and after the kiss is something that could happen to anyone, which I think draws you in more as you watch.
And I must give a shout-out to all those involved in the technical department. The set was phenomenal, which included a turntable that switched from the apartment living room to the hospital room. Its silence upon turning allowed me to hear the audible gasp of wonder when it spun for the first time. There was enough spectacle to be noted, yet the set only complemented the story and acting.
My only negative notes on the show involve the volume of the actors. There were times when it was difficult to understand them even though I was sitting fairly close to the stage. As far as the sound goes, it was more overpowering than the actor’s dialogue. This was meant to be part of the play for some of the scenes, but it should be noted I saw the play on the last dress rehearsal and some final nerves were being worked out.
Overall, I was impressed with both the performance and the show itself. St. Norbert Theatre Productions has had a history of choosing edgy plays that challenge the audience and the actors. “Stop Kiss” is no exception from this rule. I was thoroughly impressed with all elements and highly recommend venturing out to see it.