By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, Reporter
By Diana Son
Presented by Positive Space, MusicArtes, and New Voice Company
Ongoing until July 21
Power Mac Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati
SARA and Callie are out late one evening at NYC’s West Village and share their first kiss. A bystander then viciously attacks them — Sara’s injuries are so bad that she falls into a coma.
It is sad to realize that Stop Kiss, Diana Son’s 1998 play, remains relevant — 21 years later some people’s freedom to love who they wish to is still something to be fought for.
The play opens during the first meeting between Callie (played by Gawad Buhay award winner Missy Maramara), a traffic reporter, during her first meeting with Sara (played by Gawad Buhay award nominee Jenny Jamora), a third grade teacher who has just moved to town, at Callie’s apartment. The scene then shifts to Callie recounting the events of the attack to Detective Cole (Robbie Guevara).
The entire story is told through a juxtaposition of events in the past and present with tension building until it ties up in the middle. The story is presented with a panel that slides from one side of the stage to the other, separating the past from the present. Gawad Buhay Award and Aliw Award winner Ed Lacson, Jr. both directed the play and did the stage design.
Despite Callie’s stable job and ongoing “friends with benefits” relationship with George (Tarek El Tayech), she finds it difficult to navigate to a happy life until Sara comes along and she learns how to love.
The play is very familiar to Maramara and Jamora as they were in the play’s first staging in 2003 — though they switched roles this time around. The actors were superb. Ms. Maramara was wondrous to watch as she shifted from warm and friendly host to compassionate and selfless lover in between light to emotional scenes. Ms. Jamora’s is a strong and convincing portrayal of Sara, her stuggle to communicate with her loved ones while recovering physically from her coma is very realistic.
In the pivotal scene is where Callie shows her love for Sara by dressing her up. It was a very raw scene.
In a world where queer love is still contested despite its continuing progress towards acceptance, we need stories like Stop Kiss to remind us that love is a choice — a free one.