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BWW Review: STOP KISS Sends Message that Love Triumphs


Live, laugh, love: my favorite motto for life, and a saying that couldn't be any more perfect to describe the play Stop Kiss.

San Francisco State University's first production of the fall, written by Diana Son and directed by Roy Conboy, exemplifies those three words through a story of two women enduring friendship, heartache and love.

Callie and Sara lead two very different lives in New York circa 1999. Callie, played by Lauren Prentiss, is a traffic reporter with a humorous and animated personality, and she is no stranger to the hustle and bustle of life in the Big Apple. Sara, played by Rosie Anderson, is a naive transplant from St. Louis who moves to the city for a fellowship she won to teach third grade in the Bronx. She can't have pets in her apartment, so she connects with Callie as a friend of a friend to let her cat stay at Callie's place.

Though Callie appears like a busy, single woman who has it all together, audiences get to see the true Callie when she is on stage alone waiting for guests to be buzzed in to her apartment. She is usually scrambling to get things done last minute, and deals with a relationship with her ex, George, played by Zach Cowan, who performs his character well as that one, oftentimes irritating, person you just can't let go of from your life.

Sara, on the other hand comes off as quiet and perhaps priviledged, but as her story is followed, it is revealed that Sara has her own unique presence and worked hard to get her teaching fellowship, whereas Callie landed into opportunities through connections. The two women's personalities, individual lives and eventual love story between their first meeting and developing realtionship is what captures and sustains the audience's attention till the end.

Stop Kiss previewed Thursday, Oct. 8th to eruptions of laughter, showcasing the comedic skills of the main characters Callie, Sara and George. One of the main scene locations occurs is Callie's living room, and the various comings and goings of the three and their interactions are reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode. Like the main characters in the TV show chatting about seemingly-random topics, Callie and Sara's frequent conversations occurring around Callie's couch may seem to revolve around nothing, until a witty punchline comes that incites an agreeable laughter from the audience and fondness for the characters.

Other times laughter was not at the focus during more emotional and tense scenes in which the characters wanted patrons to sympathize with their difficult situations. This was not at all difficult to do, as I even found myself with watery eyes in these heartbreaking moments.

The relatability factor of this play is top notch, which made Callie and Sara's story so easy yet also difficult to watch, as many people can probably see their own lives mirrored in the characters'. The two women are simply living their lives in the beginning of the play, until those lives become intertwined. This is viewed in scenes of the two growing closer, such as when Callie lets Sara sleep on her couch one night, and another instance when they drink wine and bond over a card game.

When, after some time passes and the two develop deeper feelings for each other, Sara and Callie are attacked at a park and Sara ends up in a coma. It is this horrific occurrence that leaves Callie to realize what, or really who, she truly wants in life to be happy.

By the end of the play the women show why they were the stars of the production to begin with, and why its message needs to be known by others. Stop Kiss is the right play to be shown in San Francisco because of the city's large LGBTQ community, but also because stories of women being in a relationship and possibly harassed or attacked for doing so is not heard or made aware of enough even if it is happening a lot more than people may think or know.

Stop Kiss makes you reflect, of course, on love and the dynamics of a relationship, but it is so much more than that. The play puts forth a greater message of an issue still topical around the world, which is the subject of liking someone of the same sex, and how that affects everyone else. Callie and Sara never harm anyone in their story; they live their lives going to their daily jobs, meeting up with friends and trying to find laughter in even the most uncomfortable and oftentimes difficult situations.

They live, they laugh, and when they do find love, why should it matter that it is shared between two women? That special connection with another person is hard enough to find, so when Sara and Callie finally do discover it, they can't, and shouldn't, let go.

Stop Kiss is showing at SFSU's Little Theatre Oct. 15th-17th at 8 pm; and Oct. 18th at 2 pm. Tickets are $10-$15 and can be purchased online here.

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From This Author Anna Hecht

I am a journalism student at San Francisco State University who is passionate about arts and entertainment, with a focus on theater arts. I enjoy (read more...)