CSUSM’s “STOP KISS” confronts love, brutality

Event review

Shannon Gallacher, Community Arts Reporter


Diana Son’s play “STOP KISS” follows the gentle progression of two female protagonists, Callie and Sara, who experience a brutal attack following their first kiss that turns their world upside down.

CSUSM’s production of the play, a companion to October’s “Good Kids,” was raw and real with a spectacular cast that held the attention of the audience for entire show.

Our very own theater department, under the direction of Jason Heil, took on the daunting task of bringing Son’s prestigious work to life on Nov. 18 in order to educate and entertain students.

Callie, played by Laurissa Rudgers, is a radio traffic reporter for the local news station and lives the life of a wallflower. She isn’t sure who she really is and lives everyday the same, never really feeling fulfilled.

Sara, played by Jennifer Fiallos, is the opposite. After leaving her long-term boyfriend and family behind in St. Louis for a teaching job in the Bronx, she’s finally living the life she craves full of hustle and bustle, making a difference in the lives of her students.

The girls meet through friends of friends when Callie offers to take care of Sara’s cat while she’s in the city. The duo hit it off instantly, becoming extremely close friends. The main plot follows their progression from friends to lovers.

The assault, which is subtly acted out in small flashes on the side of the stage, leaves Sara in a coma and Callie in a rough spot between Sara’s ignorant family and her loyalty to her.

This play is a must see for everyone. It demonstrates what life is like for someone questioning themselves, their sexuality and their feelings for another person in a society filled with ignorance.

The brutality in the show really hit home and I felt for Callie and Sara as they tried desperately to show their feelings for one another. When they finally did, they faced sexist slurs and a horrid beating.

However, towards the end we see Callie dressing and taking care of Sara. She asks Callie to stay with her in New York and Sara offers a smile as if to say yes. The audience sees a flashback to the characters’ first kiss that started it all.

“STOP KISS” was an excellent production that I would recommend to anyone.