“I’d never fallen in love with a woman. But when I did, it didn’t seem so strange.” -Cynthia Nixon
Welcome to New Renaissance Theatre Company’s production of Stop Kiss by Diana Son, directed by Karthik Arumugam and Lou Conrad, with assistant direction by Lily Mittnight. Thank you for joining us.
We are so happy to finally be able to share this play with you, after our original production was one of the many affected by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. While the play takes place in the 1990’s, the actors and crew are still living in 2021 and must adapt to creating theatre in a COVID-ridden world. All of our cast and crew are in compliance with Northeastern University COVID safety guidelines.
While Stop Kiss is fictional, and Callie and Sara are not based on real people, acts of violence against the LGBTQ+ community are very real. A story similar to that of Callie and Sara shook the world in 2015, when a lesbian couple was beaten on a London bus (link contains graphic images). BIPOC individuals within the LGBTQ+ community experience a disproportionate amount of hate crimes compared to their white counterparts at an alarming rate. Black transgender women, a community that trailblazed a path for LGBTQ+ rights, are the most at risk of anti-LGBTQ+ violence. The rate of disappearances and murders of Indigenous women and Two Spirit people is another devastating reality for the BIPOC LGBTQ+ community (learn more about MMIWG2S here). Despite the gains made in only the last few decades, anti-LGBTQ+ violence is just as prominent as ever.
It is a difficult world to live in as an LGBTQ+ person. With the amount of violence and hate that the community faces, to celebrate being LGBTQ+, to find moments of, well, pride is a victory.
Stop Kiss is just as much, if not more, about queer love and joy as it is about the horrific act committed against Callie and Sara. When you watch our show we encourage you to think of those who have come before us, all those who are yet to come, and those in your life who deserve love and protection and comfort just as much as anyone else.
Stop Kiss would not have been possible without the help of New Renaissance’s members and supporters. We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who purchased a shirt to help us raise funds for this production. Thank you for helping us share this story. And thank you, the person reading this program, for attending our show.
The Directing Team and E-Board
Karthik Arumugam, Lou Conrad, Lily Mittnight, Vidisha Agarwalla, Hanieka Balint, Lina Lahlou, Julia Morales, Gabe Peralta, and Madi Vespa