Playing kissy-face

Stop Kiss

Rated 2.0 “Do you remember the first time we kissed?” the small blond woman (Theresa Huntington) asks her on-again, off-again boyfriend George (Rick Cook). “No,” he answers. “Neither do I,” she says with a sigh. “But it’s different when I’m with Sara. She keeps telling me to make up my mind—and sometimes my mind tells me that I just want to plant a big wet one right on her lips!” Suddenly George understands why their relationship isn’t working.

Stop Kiss doesn’t focus on a central Asian theme as so many productions from the Interactive Asian Contemporary Theatre have done. Instead, this presentation, helmed by artistic director Dennis Yep, focuses on the budding friendship between two women in New York City. Then, as the two discover their feelings toward each other might be deeper than just friendship, tragedy comes in a violent attack that leaves one of them in a coma and the other struggling between her newfound feelings and the other woman’s family.

There are several scenes in Stop Kiss that sparkle, and two extremely emotional scenes that the work’s two leads—Huntington and Fusako Yokotobi—manage to make heart-wrenchingly intense.

In what should be a dramatic, emotionally charged presentation, the cast gives a well-intentioned but uninspired performance. The story, as well as the performances, falls flat in poorly delivered dialogue and poor technical direction. Nonetheless, the story is an interesting one, and it’s a delight to see theater companies such as InterACT branching out to experiment with non-standard formula productions such as Stop Kiss, a presentation that challenges traditional female roles in society.