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John Kinzer
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Last modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009

IU Theatre and Drama opens spring season with acclaimed ‘Stop Kiss’

WHAT: Stop Kiss
WHEN: Feb. 6, 7, and 10-14 at 7:30 p.m. with additional 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Feb. 14
WHERE: Wells-Metz stage at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, Bloomington
TICKETS: Ticket prices: $20 for adults and $15 for those 30 and under, students, and seniors on Tuesday-Thursday evenings and Saturday matinee. Student Rush Tickets for $12 cash with valid IU Bloomington student ID are available the day of each performance. For mature audiences.

Jan. 22, 2009

Stop Kiss

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- What happens when a sincere expression of love is met with intolerance and violence?

Simultaneously a valentine and a warning, Diana Son's sweetly arresting Stop Kiss explores the highs and lows of contemporary urban life. Swinging back and forth in time, the play revolves around a brutal beating that occurs when two young women are seen kissing on a park bench in Greenwich Village. While deftly addressing issues of sexuality and the devastating impact of a simple, hesitating moment of intimacy, the play retains a pervasive sense of humor, melding light and dark into a single work that eloquently captures the complexity and humanity of daily existence.

In an interview in American Theatre, Son described Stop Kiss: "I would never personally say 'This is a play about homophobia. This is a play about gay bashing. This is a play about the civil rights of gays and lesbians in America.' I would describe the play as a love story."

In addition to her writing for the stage, Son also is a writer and co-executive producer of television's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

Bruce Burgun, the award-winning teacher and director who staged IU's presentation of Stop Kiss, says he was moved by the play's balance of gentle intimacy and brutal violence. "When I first read Stop Kiss, I knew I was in the presence of a very important play," he said. "I was impressed with the ferocity and honesty of the writing. I loved the non-linear story-telling. I knew the characters and cared deeply for them -- and I was also very aware of the brutal world this love story attempts to live in."

Burgun said the play resonates deeply with our contemporary lives. "Homophobic violence is a reality lurking just beneath the surface all around us, and I'm not so sure everyone is aware -- or wants to be aware," he said. "But you try walking hand in hand with someone of your own gender past the downtown (Bloomington) bars at closing hour and see what you encounter."

Presenting a fresh look in the design of this production are first year M.F.A. candidates Katie McDermott, scenic designer; Jennifer Sheshku, costume designer; Chris Wood, lighting designer; and Adam Weil, technical director. Sound designer is second-year Ph.D. candidate Thomas Oldman.

The cast is led by third-year M.F.A. acting student Lilia Vassileva as Callie (Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean) and senior Kate Catherall as Sara (Measure for Measure, Juliet). Theatre M.A. candidate David Kopp makes his Norvelle Center debut as Detective Cole. Also featured are seniors, Brian Bradshaw as George (An American Ma(u)l, Thomas Jefferson), Bradley A. Wantz as Nurse (The Wild Party, Oscar) and Harry Watermeier as Peter (Dead Man Walking, Press); and freshman Maddy King as Mrs. Winsley (Hamlet, Player Queen).

Student Flex Pass

Making a commitment to serving the students at IU, the Department of Theatre and Drama is offering a new special student flex pass.

IU students only are invited to purchase a new 4-plus-1 Student Flex Pass for the four shows of the spring 2009 semester. The $48 Flex Pass book ($60 value) includes four flex pass vouchers, plus a fifth voucher that can be assigned to a friend. For ticket information, call 812-855-1103 and ask for information about Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center tickets. Single tickets and Flex Passes can be purchased at the IU Auditorium box office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center box office, which opens one hour before curtain. To purchase tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at 812-333-9955, or buy online at Call box office for group ticket information.