WKU students prepare for ‘Stop Kiss’ production

Corbin junior Sterling Franklin (left) and Bowling Green junior Holly Berger rehearse for “Stop Kiss,” a production by WKU’s Theatre & Dance department. “Stop Kiss” debuts Thursday, April 12 at the Gordon Wilson Lab Theatre.

Anna Anderson

As the school week was winding down for WKU students on Friday, members of the Theatre & Dance department’s production of “Stop Kiss” were just getting started.

Around 7 p.m., the actors, crew and director began arriving at the Gordon Wilson Lab Theatre for a long night of rehearsal.

With less than a week before opening night, the students and faculty were kicking into high gear.

For Michelle Dvoskin, a first-year assistant professor in the department, this production has been a long time coming.

After finishing up her graduate studies at the University of Texas in Austin, Dvoskin joined the faculty at WKU.

When Dvoskin began speaking with the theatre department about choosing a script for her first show at WKU, she said she suggested “Stop Kiss.”

“That conversation happened a lot, and I think I mentioned ‘Stop Kiss’ every time,” Dvoskin said. “I’ve been waiting for the chance.”

She said she first read the script as an undergraduate student and has wanted to work with it ever since.

“Stop Kiss” was written by Diana Son and debuted off-Broadway in 1998.

“There’s such a heart to it,” Bowling Green junior Holly Berger said.

Berger plays Sara, one of the lead characters in the show.

Sara is a schoolteacher from St. Louis who relocates to New York and meets Callie, a city traffic reporter.

“You can tell from the very beginning that they have a connection,” said Corbin junior Sterling Franklin, who plays Callie.

Throughout the course of the show, Sara and Callie develop a romantic attachment to each other. Their decision to be together irrevocably alters their lives.

Although the show does contain some adult subject matter, Berger said she thinks the play is well-balanced between heavy and light topics.

Franklin said she struggled to get beyond how the audience could perceive “Stop Kiss.”

“I’ve never had to deal with anything this controversial before,” she said. “Some people could be downright against the show.”

Yet, Louisville junior Josh Gustafson, the assistant director for the show, said he is confident the message will be well received.

“This is theater,” he said. “And theater is supposed to tackle issues and create change.”

Berger said she was worried at first about accurately portraying Sara’s character on stage, partially due to the nature of the show.

Before this, Berger said she had mostly done roles in productions meant for children, and Sara is a big departure for her.

“It really tests you to let you know what you’re capable of,” Berger said.

Dvoskin thinks “Stop Kiss” is well suited to her cast because of the show’s underlying themes.

“I actually think it’s a perfect show for college students,” she said. “It’s about making choices and committing to them.”