In case you didn’t know, no light or sound cues—no part of a play—proceeds unless the stage manager says “go.”

  1. Light extinguishes in the house.
  2. Music plays overhead.
  3. Dim outlines pad across the stage.
  4. “Standby.”
  5. Rustle, then hush issues through the headphones.
  6. Seconds tick by as the soundtrack continues.
  7. “Ready.”
  8. “GO.”

Being an English major puts me in an interesting crosshair as my academic role intersects with my technical role as stage manager. I am constantly exposed to the text of the show, and communication is vital to every single one of my responsibilities. Especially through Stop Kiss, I am able to dwell on the impact of words, and I rediscovered the importance of the “G” word.

“Go.”

Callie (Liz Ishman) and Sara (Melissa Williams) share a moment in the apartment.

Callie (Liz Ishman) and Sara (Melissa Williams) share a moment in the apartment.

Were you thinking of something else, perhaps?

Most people bookmark this show as “the lesbian play,” but “gay” (a valid “g” word) is not what I focus on as I watch and help this production develop. When people ask me what it’s about, along with other details, I say that it’s a play in which two women meet and fall in love. Somehow, this cliché manages to be controversial, which turns people away from coming to see the show.

Another English major habit of mine has to do with connections; I make them all the time, and sometimes they are between the weirdest things.

My sister told me about the spoken word poet Andrea Gibson. I looked her up and found “I do,” a piece I am now obsessed with. Gibson is gay, and she wrote the poem in response to Prop 8. In it she speaks line after powerful line to and about her lover in fifty years, when she must face the process of saying goodbye. For me her closing words have the fullest impact:

Callie (Liz Ishman) visits Sara (Melissa Williams) in the hospital.

Callie (Liz Ishman) visits Sara (Melissa Williams) in the hospital.

“I do, I do, I do—want to be in that room with you. When visiting hours are for family members only, I want to know they’ll let me in.”

One of my favorite scenes in Stop Kiss pulls its audience into a hospital room (much like Gibson’s piece) so that we witness Callie dressing the recovering Sara. This is no ordinary feat; Sara is stuck in a wheelchair with one side of her body paralyzed. The scene moves slowly, with every second showing the precious expression of deep devotion, which echoes in Gibson’s assertion that “this kind of love has to be a verb.” someone who cares for you so much that they would stay with you through the very worst, because they know they have the very best, would do that.

I’m here to say right now that Stop Kiss is a love story—a real one—and after spending more than a month reading, hearing, and watching it, I can tell you that this is its message: love is love, whether it’s straight or gay.

Callie (Liz Ishman) finishes dressing Sara (Melissa Williams) in the hospital.

Callie (Liz Ishman) finishes dressing Sara (Melissa Williams) in the hospital.

By the powers invested in me as stage manager for Theatre Westminster’s production of Stop Kiss, I now pronounce you ready for the crucial “G” word, my last piece of advice related to this show:

Go.

(For a truly moving rendition of Andrea Gibson’s “I do,” go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8oGYyLDxFI)