A new production company is reviving a lesbian-themed play that enjoyed great success when it was produced in South Florida in 2004.
Erynn Dalton and Jeff Holmes, the founding members of Infinite Abyss Productions, will begin previews of their first theatrical production, Stop Kiss, on April 1 at Empire Stage in Fort Lauderdale.
Dalton and Holmes were long-time troupe members of the now defunct Sol Theatre Project, which produced shows for nearly a decade in the theatre space now known as Empire Stage. Sol had a wildly successful run of Stop Kiss in 2004. Holmes, who played a cop in Sol’s original production, will direct the new production Stop Kiss.
Dalton and Holmes met eight years ago at Sol. They were fixtures on the Sol stage and behind the scenes, and they’ve been writing partners for several years, working together on plays and screenplays. Sol founders Robert Hooker and Tony Priddy sold the theatre last year and relocated to the west coast of Florida.
“They left and we’re still here,” says Dalton, looking around the intimate performance space that once housed Sol’s provocative brand of theatre.
Holmes now works as a stage manager at Empire Stage, whose debut production in the theatre was the recent Making Porn. With the theatre dark for a few months, Dalton and Holmes decided to produce a show.
Diana Son’s Stop Kiss was first produced in New York City in 1998 and won the GLAAD Media Award for Best New York Production and was on the Top 10 Plays lists of the New York Times, New York Newsday, and the New York Daily News. The play tells the story of two women: Callie, a New York City traffic reporter, and Sara, a schoolteacher transplanted from St. Louis, who experience an unexpected attraction to each other. As they begin to fall in love, their relationship is impacted by a sudden act of homophobic violence. The story is told through 23 non-linear scenes in only 90 minutes.
The decision to produce Stop Kiss was twofold.
“By launching our theatre company with Stop Kiss, we are paying homage to our roots and Sol’s loyal audience,” says Holmes.
They also wanted to produce a play specifically for lesbian audiences, a group they feel is underserved. “Even the local theatres that do gay plays, put on shows which are mainly for the guys,” says Holmes.
Dalton recalls audience feedback when she was part of the cast of Sol’s lesbian-themed Why We Have a Body. “After the show women would come up to me and say ‘When are you going to bring back Stop Kiss?’ So now we’re bringing it back.”
Stop Kiss features Monica Garcia, Danielle Tabino and Sol Theatre member, Todd Bruno. It’s being underwritten in part by New Moon, a gay and lesbian bar in Wilton Manors.
Unfortunately, the homophobia that existed when Stop Kiss was first produced 12 years is still common, making the play just as relevant. Holmes believes Stop Kiss is relatable on many different levels, because love and violence touches everyone’s lives.
Dalton sees Stop Kiss as a play of self-discovery between two women.
“It’s nice to do a show that reflects the violence but at the same time rises above it,” Dalton says. “There is an incident, but it’s really more about them falling in love.”
1140 N. Flagler Dr,Fort Lauderdale
WHEN: Two preview performances on April 1 and 2, and officially opens April 3. It runs through April 25 at Empire Stage.
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online at www.empirestage.com or at the door.