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SMC theater group puts on controversial play

Ashley Charnley | Monday, April 14, 2008

“Stop Kiss,” Saint Mary’s spring theater production, was met with initial hesitation due to its controversial themes of homosexuality and violence but was eventually accepted by the audience.

When it was first announced that “Stop Kiss” would be performed on campus, several members of the Saint Mary’s student body sent e-mails to the play’s director, Katie Sullivan, expressing concerns over some of the play’s content.

In an e-mail to the student body, Sullivan explained that the play was chosen to help explore violence in the everyday world.

“The play spoke loudly to me in its plea for non-violence in our world, both in the larger global picture and in the small individual choices we each make everyday,” Sullivan said in an interview.

Both during and after the performance, the audience did not seem to take offense to the issues addressed in the play.

“It broke some preconceived stereotypes I had about lesbians because the girls were two normal people who happened to fall in love like anybody else falls in love, without trying,” Saint Mary’s freshman Catie Salyer said.

The play is set in modern New York City, and primarily a New York apartment. It is the story of native New Yorker Callie, played by Caroline Walker, a senior theater and biology major, who helps Sarah, played by Ayslinn McGovern, a senior theater major, to become acquainted with the city after the latter’s move there. They both are initially heterosexual, but as they form a bond with one another over the course of a few months, they begin to realize their feelings are stronger than they originally thought.

One night, after leaving a nightclub, they walk though a park on the West Side and sit on a bench. They begin talking and then suddenly kiss. A man sees them and comes up to them and beats Sarah. He beats her so severely that she enters a coma.

The house was nearly full during the evening performances and about three-quarters full for the matinee on Sunday afternoon. Both during and after the performance, the audience did not seem to take offense to the issues addressed in the play.

Audience members said they were not offended but intrigued by the story line.

“I think that it was very emotionally engaging and it gave the audience a lot to think about. There was also an image of self-sacrifice and the attempt to understand ourselves through the eyes of another,” Saint Mary’s freshman Leanna Perez said.

“Stop Kiss” is a contemporary piece written by Diana Son and was performed in Saint Mary’s Little Theater.