“What could two nice, pretty girls possibly be doing at four in the morning on a park bench in New York?”
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA PBG STUDIOS
Originally written by Diana Son back in 1998, Stop Kiss explores many issues and themes that are just as prevalent as ever for the LGBTQI community as it stands today.
The production of Stop Kiss at Above The Stag is a humorous and sharp portrayal of the beginning stages of a relationship, taking dark turns to convey the aftermath of a hate crime.
After Callie meets Sara, the two unexpectedly fall in love. They live completely different lives and at first it is hard to understand what brings them together at all.
Callie and Sara fight for the right moment to have their first kiss since they meet. When they finally do, it provokes a violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate.
Their relationship builds slowly. They cover jobs, past relationships and delve slowly deeper into the intricacies of each other’s own minds until they understand each other on a level they never thought they would.
Nothing comes across smoothly – they pause and break awkwardly as the underlying sexual attraction hangs in front of them, and in front of the audience to see clearly.
The pair strain to build to the point where their relationship blossoms more towards love than just friendship. It’s a realistic portrayal of the messy part of forming relationships – it’s not all butterflies and easy, like cinema often makes it seem.
There on the stage, you can see their vulnerability, excitement and discomfort as they both struggle to let love into their lives. Add in the fact they’re both falling for another woman in the 90s, and the problems become all the more intense.
This main story of the play is punctuated with flash forwards to a fatal incident, which has left Sara brain damaged.
During the flash forwards, it’s clear that Sara’s urgent condition seems to raise the stakes for Callie, as she realises the importance of sticking by what her girlfriend would have wanted in a world where she would have been free to live her life authentically.
It was just earlier this year that the world was horrified when two queer women, Melania and Chris, were injured in a homophobic hate crime in London that left them bloodied and needing hospital treatment.
Stop Kiss delivers a frightening reminder of the continued dangers of living life as an out queer person today and echoes the reality that we genuinely face.
It’s funny and heartbreaking all at the same time and you can get tickets to see it for yourself at Above The Stag There here up until 1 December.
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