Stage Kiss, a New Play by Award-Winning Playwright Sarah Ruhl
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The last date listed for Stage Kiss was Sunday June 5, 2011 / 7:30pm.
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Quotes & Highlights
See a video about the making of Stage Kiss.
Stage Kiss is a charming tale about what happens when former lovers share a stage kiss — or when actors share a real one…
For playwright Sarah Ruhl, the theater is not only the place where she makes her living — it’s also the place where she investigates life. Ruhl, whose mother is an actor, has been immersed in the theater from an early age, including a stint in her teenage years at the legendary Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, where she first met director Jessica Thebus. In her illustrious career as a playwright (to date, her professional résumé boasts a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, two Pulitzer Prize nominations and a Tony nomination) Ruhl has often been drawn to the notion of performance. Goodman audiences will remember her ambitious three-part epic, Passion Play: a cycle in three parts, staged at the Goodman in 2007, in which Ruhl explores what the impact of portraying a Biblical figure might do to an actor’s sense of self. Passion Play depicts three separate passion plays throughout history — one set in Elizabethan England, one set in Nazi Germany and a third set in Vietnam-era South Dakota — and in each section the characters struggle with their identification with, and differences from, the iconic characters they embodied (namely Jesus, Pontius Pilate, Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene). The tension in Passion Play between its characters’ dual identities became Ruhl’s springboard for exploring issues of religion, nationhood and identity.
In Stage Kiss, Ruhl returns to the subject of the theater — and in particular the tension between actor and role — but in a wildly different package from the often dark and thorny Passion Play. This time she tackles the world of contemporary professional theater with a kind of lightness and frivolity (though with a steely intelligence and precision), introducing the audience to He and She, two veteran actors with a complex romantic past who are unexpectedly reunited when they are cast as the lead roles in a 1930s stage melodrama. As their present-day lives and memories become more and more intertwined with the fictional world they inhabit in rehearsal (and subsequently in performance), the theater becomes both the literal backdrop for the play and the window through which Ruhl is able to explore the tension between what is real and what is imagined — assuming the two can ever really be separated.