by Guillermo Calderón
Directed by Alex Burkart
October 4-6, 11-13, 2018
With the world’s current political climate, it is easy for us as people to become completely lost in translation. Guillermo Calderón’s masterful play is a wonderful opportunity for us to not only empathetically explore the current crisis happening in Syria, but to dive deep into ourselves as people, and to understand the complexities of how we look at cultures, ideas, and behaviors other than our own.
My production of KISS explored the idea of translation: with intense examination into the dual meanings that often cloud our understandings of different cultures, world views, and crucial events. Students for this production investigated the current civil-war in Syria, as well as the culture (with even two performers learning to speak Arabic).
The concept materialized how performance sometimes masks a much harsher and raw reality. Throughout the show the set became increasingly decayed, and the costumes were peeled off to reveal the stripped down and raw individuals that face intense struggle and oppression on a daily basis. The staging of the production also leaned into these permissions: starting with a stylized melodrama performance, transferring into standard realism, and then into an intense surrealistic depiction of civil war (inspired by the real underground theater companies existing in Syria today).
The play was produced by Beloit College, where I taught as a Visiting Professor of Theater for the Fall 2018 semester.