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Play Recommendation: Diana Son’s Stop Kiss

by Miya Kuramoto //

Last semester my playwriting professor recommended reading Diana Son’s Stop Kiss. This play has a non-chronological timeline, something I was trying to achieve in the play I was working on at the time. While I did enjoy the structure of the play, I found the discussions of sexuality, sexual harassment, and misogyny to be more compelling. The play begins with the first meeting of Sara and Callie. Sara drops off her cat at Callie’s while she adjusts to her new life in New York City. This seemingly lighthearted narrative is quickly disturbed by the account of Callie and a detective on the night that Sara is brutally assaulted by a man who saw the two women kiss. This juxtaposition of tender and harsh scenes makes Stop Kiss a must-read. So, consider this article my official invitation for you to read Diana Son’s play Stop Kiss.

As an Asian American woman myself, I was excited to read the work of an Asian American female playwright. What I enjoy about Son’s play is her representation and inclusion of people of color in a narrative about sexuality and self-exploration. She does this in a way that is not forced. Instead, Son normalizes these experiences among people of all colors and backgrounds. Not to mention that in the original cast of Stop Kiss, Sandra Oh, best known for Grey’s Anatomy and Killing Eve, starred as Sara. It’s cool to think that someone as famous and influential as Sandra Oh once performed in theater.

 One of the most compelling reasons to read or view this play is its continued relevance even twenty-two years after its original production. It was only five years ago that same-sex marriage was legally recognized in all fifty states, and the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination and institutional oppression. Similarly, the play recognizes the importance of intersectionality. The interlocking oppression that is created by being both a member of the LGBTQ+ community as well as identifying as a woman is highlighted through the relationship of Sara and Callie. Unfortunately, misogyny, homophobia, and expectations of passivity are rampant in the world we live in, even decades after Son originally wrote Stop Kiss.

Stop Kiss challenges sexist and homophobic conduct while acknowledging the reality of consequences that comes with fighting for what you want and believe in. Nonetheless, it is important to portray raw and sometimes traumatic experiences so that we can recognize and discuss these issues rather than looking the other way. Son’s Stop Kiss is more than just a tale of modern romance. It’s an account of how relationships can help us grow as individuals and learn to accept the parts of ourselves that we were once ashamed of.