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Arts Culture Tatler Review: Stop Kiss

Tatler Review: Stop Kiss

Tatler Review: Stop Kiss
By MJ Jose
By MJ Jose
July 15, 2019
Returning to the Manila stage after it first opened in 2003, Stop Kiss paints a compelling, heart-breaking picture of the complexities of human relationships

The crux of producer-playwright Diana Son’s critically acclaimed work pans out the way a news bit on CNN or an online article might: a man assaults two women after seeing them share a kiss, and the world gobbles the details up greedily. At the centre of this traumatic experience are Callie and Sara, whose friendship and tentative romance serve as the core of the story.

Missy Maramara as Callie
Missy Maramara as Callie

New York-based traffic reporter Callie, who is content to flit from the demands of her day job to an occasional dinner or drink with a friend, finds her world quickly changing the moment she welcomes idealistic, fresh-from-Missouri schoolteacher Sara into her life. Masterfully played by Aliw Award winner Missy Maramara (Callie) and Gawad Buhay nominee Jenny Jamora (Sara), it is a treat for the viewer to witness the oftentimes gentle, yet sometimes harsh push-pull of their blossoming relationship. A strong supporting cast consisting of Tarek El Tayech—a delight to see as Callie’s brazen, boisterous, yet loyal friend-with-benefits George, Gabe Mercado, Robbie Guevara, Jay Valencia-Glorioso, and J-mee Katanyag rounds out the talented ensemble.

Callie and Sara's friendship blossoms into a tentative romance
Callie and Sara's friendship blossoms into a tentative romance
Robbie Guevara (Detective Cole) and Missy Maramara
Robbie Guevara (Detective Cole) and Missy Maramara

It is vital to note that the play does not flow in chronological order. Scenes oscillate between past and future events, allowing audiences to see a juxtaposition between the lives of the characters before and after the incident. The stage design, conceptualised by Ed Lacson Jnr (who also directs this play), is nothing short of clever, allowing for a flawless and quick transition from one scene to another.  

Stop Kiss comes to Manila on the heels of Pride Month, which adds a hefty weight to its significance. It’s a story that we hear about too often; the struggle for acceptance and freedom to love is ongoing, and, like Callie and Sara, there is still much to endure. But Stop Kiss, a piece of fiction so close to reality, reminds us that there is hope for brighter days ahead.

Co-presented by Positive Space, MusicArtes, and New Voice Company, Stop Kiss Manila will run on its second weekend from 19 to 21 July at the Power Mac Centre Spotlight in Circuit, Makati. Tickets are available online at ticket2me.net/e/2445/stop-kiss or tinyurl.com/StopKissMNLTickets.

The Stop Kiss Manila poster
The Stop Kiss Manila poster

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