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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance

Stop Kiss at the Lab Theatre | October 15-18

Diana Son's award-winning, provocative story of love without labels comes to the Lab Theatre October 15-18.

UofSC Lab Theatre

Stop Kiss

by Diana Son
Directed by Liz Houck

October 15-18, 2015

Lab Theatre
1400 Wheat St.

Show Times:
8pm nightly

A talk-back with the audience will be held after the performance on Thursday, October 15 and Sunday, October 18.

$5, only at the door

Stop Kiss contains language and adult situations that are not suitable for children.

Imani Hanley as Sara (left) and Jasmine James as Callie

Diana Son’s Obie and GLAAD award-winning story is at one moment funny and tender, and, in the next, jarringly visceral.  Sara, an elementary school teacher who has just moved to NYC, befriends the street-smart Callie, and their fast friendship soon evolves into deeper feelings.  The complicated course of their growing closeness leads to a fateful kiss, which provokes a brutal assault that will change their lives forever.  Son’s innovative script fractures the story’s timeline, giving the audience glimpses of growing attraction in one scene, and the devastating effects of a hate crime in the next.  “Something as thought-provoking and ultimately moving as Stop Kiss is a joy to experience.” — Star Ledger

Director Elizabeth Houck, a senior Theatre and Psychology major, says that despite the play’s portrayal of a budding romance between two women, Stop Kiss is about much more than the characters’ sexuality.

“It’s not just a story about Callie and Sara, because every person in the play plays a crucial role,” says Houck.  “I don’t think the play is so much about romantic love as it is about different explorations of love.  For instance, how the kind of love that Callie has with her ex-boyfriend, George — who she is still intimate with — is not a lesser kind of love than the romantic love she finds with Sara.” 

Ultimately, she says, “the story explores the idea of systemic oppression in a white, capitalist patriarchy, and how these two characters who make a choice to explore their love are not allowed to exist in that society.” 

The director adds that the fact that the actors playing Callie and Sara are Black-American brings an even more relevant level of immediacy to the play’s underlying exploration of societal injustice.  “The time is now to be having this discussion of voices that are so often under-represented, not only in the theatre but also in society,” she says.

Houck’s plan for making the 1998 play resonate with contemporary issues is extending to an imaginative use of digital projections, created by UofSC Media Arts Master’s Program alum O.K. Keyes, in the production’s scenic design.  Some projections will be used to create the reality of the play’s various locales, while others will be more abstract in helping to convey both what the characters are going through and the outside forces acting against them.

“We’re doing a lot with ‘glitch’ art, which is actually a breaking of the image,” says Houck.  “O.K. Keyes led the cast in a workshop on glitch art where we took images from the media, anything from a shot of The Brady Bunch to the shooting of Michael Brown, and broke them up on the computer.  We ‘broke’ many images of systems of power in society, and those will be among the assets being projected.”

Cast in the production are senior theatre major Jasmine James as Callie and senior biology major Imani Hanley as Sara.  Also cast are undergraduate theatre majors DeAudrey Owens, Abigail McNeely and Ashley Graham, and computer science major Freddie Powers.  Scenic Design is by UofSC alum Curtis Smoak.  Lighting Design is being helmed by Media Arts major Nicole Bellas.  Sound Design for the show is by O.K. Keyes and current Media Arts student Sydney Key.

For more information about Stop Kiss or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at (803) 777-9353 or via email at