The name of the play Stop Kiss can be read in two ways: as describing a moment of instant attraction, or a sudden and unwanted interruption.
Theatre 'd Art's current production, a story of unexpected change on the most fundamental of levels, explores both ideas in depth. Stop Kiss follows the development of a more-than-friends bond between two straight women, played by Holly Rogers and Taffy Burnett, as they experience an unquestionable physical connection and then a tragic act of violence. And it uses their relationship as a platform for raising thematic questions about modern perceptions of relationships and sexuality.
"I like to emphasize that this is not a 'gay' play," says director Crystal Carter, who has worked with Theatre 'd Art in several different capacities since 2005. "When people hear the term homosexual or gay, a whole list of stereotypes comes to mind.
"Unfortunately, our society tends to make people's sexual identity their whole identity."
Carter is hopeful that the script, which doesn't run chronologically, will present new ideas to viewers, particularly as they begin to relate to the ways in which each character deals with an unforeseen and initially counterintuitive attraction.
Written by New York-based playwright, television producer and screenwriter Diana Son, Stop Kiss was originally performed in New York City in 1998 before gaining recognition in performances nationwide. Carter suggests that Colorado Springs is an especially relevant locale for this production.
"Colorado Springs can be a hard place to do shows about sexuality, but this play needs to be seen here," she says. "These women are real people and could be any of us. I think that people need to be shown that."