REVIEW: EC Theatre’s “Stop Kiss”

Words by Christina Loberti 

TW: Assault, Hate Crime, Homophobia

courtesy of Violet Villanueva

Emmanuel College’s theater program hosted the play “Stop Kiss” written by Diana Son, on December 4 and 5 in the campus auditorium. The play was directed by student director, senior Violet Villanueva. When asked to describe the play in one sentence, Villanueva stated “It’s a beautiful messy snapshot of life and a wonderful portrayal of how people can carry on after such a horrific accident.”

After watching the play, I could not agree with her more. This play was dramatic, emotional, at times comical, and most importantly, real. Although dealing with such a painful and hard-hitting subject, there still remained areas of hope and love.

Villanueva did an excellent job directing this piece of art. Her passion shined through all aspects of the play itself. Her clear appreciation for this storyline was evident as she discussed in her director’s note, how much this play resonated with her and how it truly is a piece of her heart. 

Along with a director, no play can be created without a cast and crew. I can honestly say, they all did a fantastic job. Numerous crew members worked quickly and efficiently during scene changes, which is a crucial part of any production. With only six cast members, their efforts went above and beyond to work hard and create something so beautiful. Again, dealing with a very difficult subject, all cast members maintained professionalism and their emotions shined through to audience members.

courtesy of EC Theatre

The play took place in New York during the 1990s, a time where homophobia was common. The character Sara, played by sophomore Skylar Smith, was a teacher who moved to New York from Missouri. When she moved there, she met her first real friend, a traffic reporter named Callie, played by sophomore Sarah Melloni. As their friendship grew, so did their feelings for each other. 

Both women had only talked about being in prior relationships with men, but there was no defeating the flirty, awkward tensions and intimacy they felt for one another. What one might think to be a powerful love story between two women, this story turned to a side of pain and abuse.

Sara and Callie went to a park together one night and they shared their first kiss. (Disclaimer: although no portrayal of physical harm was performed on stage, a detailed description was given). A man then began shouting homophobic slurs at the two of them. When Sara yelled at the man to leave them alone, he started to attack her. Callie tried to stop him but she was too weak. Sara was brutally beaten into a coma while Callie was hit to the ground. 

The scenes in the play jumped between past and current time. As we watched the story of how Sara and Callie developed their relationship and as people, we also learned about the incident that occurred and watched Sara in the hospital.

Both Smith and Melloni played their parts with so much care. They made this story come to life. Their acting skills ranged over diverse subject matters and different mood changes such as; sarcasm, laughter, friendliness, stress, aggression, sadness, and regret. There was never a moment where one of them failed to create such a great essence of emotion.

A scene in particular that stood out to me was one where Sara was laying in the hospital bed and Callie entered the room. The scene was completely silent. Callie watched Sara lay there locked inside her own mind. Callie carefully then removed the blanket from Sara’s feet, foreshadowing the first time Sara slept over Callie’s apartment and she stated how her feet get hot when she sleeps. This scene was incredibly powerful and emotional. The defining silence, the loss for words, it was real. 

After the attack, Sara’s family and ex-boyfriend Peter, played by freshman Zach Palermo, wanted her to come back to Missouri once she regained consciousness. Once she awoke, Callie did not want her to leave. 

One of the final scenes in the play depicted Callie’s willingness to take care of Sara by taking the steps to get her dressed. Although she struggled, she proved both her determination to help and love Sara after this terrible accident. 

Overall, the execution of this play was wonderfully put together by the amazing cast and crew members. The play was truly beautiful and engaging. I would collectively like to thank all cast and crew members for their amazing work. Congratulations to all!

Remember to check out EC theater’s next play in the Spring semester “Buried Child” directed by senior Julia Burke!