'Stop Kiss' intimate story well staged
to each other the crux of the story.Sara left a Saucony Shadow boyfriend in St. Louis. Callie has a former, sometimes current boyfriend, with whom she maintains an on again, off again relationship. Both lads have supportive roles, Paul Gallaher as Peter, Scott Fisher as George. Both are amiable and convincing, with a typical supportive role in a wanna be soaper or classic sitcom structure.Noted local actor playwright Lucia del Vecchio carries the two minor roles of Mrs. Winsley and of Sara's nurse in the hospital scenes on stage left.The playwright, Donna Son, is of a generation weaned on one liner prone sitcoms with a contrived laugh track. The choppy scenes and rapid switches from stage right to stage left are disconcerting and jerky, in that sense the TV writing does not easily transport to the stage. Combined with the novel and effective time scramble of chronological settings, there is a bit of disorientation for an engaged audience. The subject matter does matter and is so tenderly conveyed as to fully engage a caring audience.Further on this laugh track bit: opening night was filled with family and friends of cast and crew. Director Spragg was returning to Iowa the next day, so lots of friends came early on. While audience appreciation is shown by laughter when appropriate, and applause at the end of each act, this over zealous audience was hell bent to applaud at the end of every scene, however brief. This made for awkward, self conscious, obligatory and inappropriate forced applause. Think: the embarrassingly inappropriate applause at the end of each movement in a symphony at an orchestra concert. The show merits ample applause at the right time.
This is accomplished both by the choice of works and their message and by the casting itself. Once again they accomplish both objectives in their current show, "Stop Kiss."The intimate space of the tiny Saucony Eggs And Bacon
the other actor only 2 feet away.The structure and time of the story is nontraditional, with the action being both before and after a pivotal event, which the audience doesn't witness, only hears about after the fact.Flashbacks are old hat, but this construct is novel, as it bounces fore and aft, around a tragic attack in a city park. All the characters on stage are noble and trying to be decent. Only the unseen perp is a tyrant and bigot, never seen nor heard, but his impact on several lives is immense.The issue is a same sex "public display of affection," which provokes a violent and tragic hate crime. Two young women grow immensely fond of each other. The repercussions involve a witness, a nurse, a friend of each victim and the detective sent to investigate the crime.Former Asheville resident Hope Spragg has returned from Iowa City to direct this show, and she obviously knows her theater. Some of the cast were familiar to Spragg from her years in Asheville a while ago.One of the leads, Tracey Johnston Crum, has done commendable theater here each year for a good while, and she appeared in this same role of Sara with the old Highland Repertory Theatre when it first opened in the Diana Wortham Theatre in the late 1990s.Different Strokes co founder and managing artistic director Steph Hickling Beckman has been doing local theater for 14 years and she ably plays the other woman, Callie, a helicopter borne traffic reporter for a New York City radio station. Sara is the newcomer whom Callie befriends, in the course of which both women, with current or former boyfriends in tow, sense the emergence of a powerful new, and unfamiliar attraction Reebok Question Low
BeBe Theatre on Commerce Street (seating circa half a hundred, max) brings the action in the New York City apartment and a hospital room almost into the laps of the four or five rows of seats.Only six cast members and never more than four on stage at a time lends to both intimacy and immediacy. Even so, some actors could project a tad more, as they speak in appropriate volume to Reebok Gum Sole
Saucony New York