"Stop Kiss" brings diversity to the stage

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OSU Department of Theatre showcases LGBTQ issues through the production "Stop Kiss."

Two heterosexual students proudly portray a lesbian romance in the play “Stop Kiss” to represent the LGBTQ community.

Junior Annie Armstrong and sophomore Sydney Bradley play the leads in OSU’s Department of Theatre in the drama “Stop Kiss.” The drama is centered around a lesbian couple, Sara and Callie, and follows their journey after a hate crime the couple experiences after their first kiss.

Performances will take place Feb. 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Seretean Center.

Armstrong and Bradley identify as heterosexual women, but said it was important to tell LGBTQ stories.

“I am an ally of the LGBTQ community,” Bradley said. “I have family and friends in the community. It’s my duty to portray the realness of my character, Sara.”

The actresses auditioned for the play at the end of the fall semester. Once they were cast for leading roles, they said they worked throughout the winter break to perfect their characters.

Armstrong, who plays Callie, said she was excited to step out of her comfort zone.

“I wasn’t afraid of kissing a girl,” Armstrong said.

“Stop Kiss” is the first LGBTQ play the theater department has produced this year. Theatre junior Desiree Giles said this is the first time since she has attended OSU that the theatre department has produced a show focused on lesbian women. Giles said she is hopeful for more inclusivity in future shows.

Last semester, the play “Steel Magnolias” brought in many ticket sales for the theatre department. Giles said she wants the same amount of attention for “Stop Kiss."

“Our department puts on shows that will attract an audience, shows that are comfortable, shows that are safe,” Giles said. “This is exciting and different.”

Renee Garcia, an assistant professor of design and the costume designer of the production, said different was the right word to use when approaching this production. The crew decided to have costume changes on stage.

“Changing on stage is intimate and vulnerable,” Bradley said. “These transitions represent the beauty of undressing.”

During the first Saturday night performance, Bradley’s pants got caught on a prop in the middle of undressing. During the slight wardrobe malfunction, Armstrong made a joke as she helped her co-star, Bradley, get undressed. The theater filled with laughter and the show continued.

“Things like that make acting fun,” Armstrong said. “As actors we love to improvise.”

The play doesn’t display any graphic nudity, but there is dialogue that includes curse words. Audiences should be cautious for a scene that discuss the details of a hate crime against the LGBTQ characters.

Armstrong and Bradley said they understand there are people who don’t agree with the subject matter of the play.

“Everyone should come out whether they agree or disagree,” Bradley said.

Bradley said she hopes the play will display these LGBTQ characters as real people.

“Above all this is a wholesome love story,” Armstrong said.

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