Student Players to stage ‘Stop Kiss’
Megan Valley | Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Notre Dame Student Players will show their production of Diana Son’s “Stop Kiss” for the first time Thursday night in Washington Hall.
Sophomore director Roisin Goebelbecker said she chose the play because it centers on two girls in the beginning of their romantic relationship.
“I recently became aware of how ridiculous heteronormativity is and how it’s extremely difficult for young people who are homosexual, bisexual [or] transgender to find stories they can relate to. Trying to imagine that is really hard because I can look around and see myself represented everywhere,” she said. “‘Stop Kiss’ tells the story of young people struggling with their sexuality without making them really weird or out there. It’s presented as a very normal thing.”
“Stop Kiss” centers on the relationship between Sara and Callie, two young women who meet in New York City in the 1990s. During their first kiss, the two girls are the victims of a gay-bashing, which is not shown on the stage.
“They become friends and, slowly, throughout the course of the show, their friendship becomes something more,” Goebelbecker said. “But both of them have only been in relationships with guys before, so they really struggle to figure out what they’re feeling and what the other is feeling.”
The story is not told chronologically, but instead follows the story leading up to and following the attack “overlapped,” Goebelbecker said. The play alternates between a scene from before the attack and one following the attack.
“There’s going to be a moment [for the audience] of not really knowing what’s going on, but it’s pretty clear that time has passed: the first scene is the two girls meeting and the next is one of the girls being interrogated by the detective, and she refers to the other girl as if they’ve been friends for a really long time,” she said. “ … We’re also going to be using costuming, and the actors have worked to be very aware of where they are chronologically before each scene.”
The cast and crew for “Stop Kiss” are “really small,” with just six actors, including sophomores Courtney Becker and Erin Vaughan as Callie and Sara. (Editor’s note: Becker is a News writer for The Observer.)
“They’re all so great,” Goebelbecker said. “Everyone from day one really cared about the story, for a lot of the same reasons I did. That was really obvious in how willing they were when they came to rehearsal.”
Following the attack, Sara is in the hospital and those scenes focus more on Callie, Goebelbecker said.
“A lot of Sara’s influence in the show is in how she affects Callie. Callie doesn’t take risks; she takes the easy route, at the beginning of the show,” she said. “ … Sara encourages her to take a leap and actually stand up for herself.
“You see that arc before the attack and then once that happens, Callie kind of reverts to where she was before, because once she takes a risk, it results in someone she cares about deeply being hurt. You see her have to make that transformation again, without Sara there to really push her.”
Overall, Goebelbecker said she hopes the audience has a chance to connect and identify with characters they might not know otherwise.
“I think it’s so easy to see people who are different from you as some group you can put in a box, which makes it hard to relate to them,” she said. “This story can open the door to getting to understand people you might not know personally.”
Performances will take place Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the LaFortune Box Office or at the door.