Marjorie Lyons Playhouse at Centenary presents "Stop Kiss"
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College's Marjorie Lyons Playhouse will stage four performances of Diana Son's emotional and thought-provoking play Stop Kiss February 4 through 6. Stop Kiss continues the Playhouse's season theme Why, Unto Others? as it explores both the preface to and aftermath of a vicious homophobic assault. Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Logan Sledge directs a cast of Centenary students in a play that he describes as "at its core…about love and personal discovery."
"Stop Kiss not only examines a brutal hate crime, but also incredible, heartfelt connections," says Aiden Poling '17, who plays "Peter" in the production. "The play references both past and contemporary societal issues related to how members of the LGBT community are treated, but does so in such an empowering way that the audience cannot help but appreciate the beauty of a relationship formed between two like-souls."
Diana Son's Stop Kiss was first produced in 1998 Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in New York City and received an Obie Award, the New York Times Best of 1999, and the 1999 Media Award from GLAAD. The play follows the story of Sara and Callie, who are walking the streets of New York City when they share their first kiss, prompting to a vicious attack by an angry bystander. Sara is horribly injured as a result of the attack and falls into a coma. Playwright Son weaves together scenes from before and after the assault to explore the depth of human emotion and compassion as relationships are explored, formed, and even ended.
Taylor Ackerman '18, who plays "Callie," feels that Stop Kiss addresses important issues such as gender and sexuality from a fresh perspective that should be as enlightening for the audience as it has been for the cast.
"I think it's about so much more than the fact that it's a relationship between two women. I think Callie is in love with a person, not a gender," says Ackerman. "That is a source for a lot of the tension in the play: the fact that both women understand they feel something but aren't sure how to handle it because it's an attraction with an aspect that is out of the norm for them. But for Callie, and for me as the person playing her, it has nothing to do with gay or straight or any other preference – it's all about the people, and that's the way I look at it."
Ammiee Brown '17 is portraying "Sara" in Stop Kiss, and feels that the play is an important one for the MLP stage because it gives voice to the LGBT community on campus and beyond but also serves as a "beginning step" to educate those who are unfamiliar with some of the issues faced by this community.
"Sara and Callie's romance, though significant to the play, is a detail. What's important is the connection they form, which anyone and everyone can relate to, and them having the courage to say or recognize what they want," says Brown. "Stop Kiss erases the line of 'other' and you realize, 'Wow, that could've been me' or 'They're no different than I am.'"
Stop Kiss opens Thursday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse on the Centenary College campus, 2700 Woodlawn Avenue. Additional performances follow on Friday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are free for Centenary students, faculty, and staff and are $5-$15 for the general public. Visit centenary.edu/playhouse/tickets for online sales or call 318.869.5242 for the Box Office.