An interview with director Rebecca Taichman where she talks STAGE KISS, working with Sarah Ruhl, and her own personal stage kiss story.
Former Box Office Manager Michael Cyril Creighton returns to Playwrights Horizons, but this time, as an actor in STAGE KISS.
In conjunction with our production of Sarah Ruhl's Stage Kiss, Playwrights Horizons reached out to its audience for stories and images of memorable stage kisses. From the submissions, we chose the best of the bunch, and are pleased to share these with you.
I’m a member of the writer’s cult that craves early mornings. 5:00 AM, 4:30 in my most maniacal phases. 4:00 is too early for me, but I only know because I tried. Quiet. Solitude. Discipline. Darkness. Stubbornness. Stillness. There are lots of ways to wake up. I love strong, French-press coffee, an ice cube in it so I don’t have to wait for it to cool. And I usually wake up my writing with some small project or exercise I can noodle around with in the first 5, 10, 15 minutes it takes to get my brain cooking. The Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, who trained as a pianist, called these small projects ‘finger exercises.’
How honest are we about sex? The Kama Sutra of Vātsyāyana is a sacred Hindu text composed about eighteen hundred years ago. It was first published privately in English by an erotophile named Sir Richard Burton in 1883 and began to appear in pirated publications around the same time that Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams. When Burton died, his wife reportedly burned most of his private erotic literature collection. As the most recent translator of The Kama Sutra, Aditya N. D. Haksarhas, points out, most English-speakers only know this ancient text via marketed “Illustrated” publications that highlight the notorious descriptions of copulatory positions that actually comprise only about one twentieth of the original work. A fairer summary would characterize it as a broad survey of sexual and social relationships between men and women. I lay out this bit of world literary history for you to come clean about my own way into Kirk Lynn’s fascinating, insightful, and moving story of a man’s messy journey from marriage to fatherhood.
Perhaps the world’s most obscure guru of actor training, Stella Burden is among some circles the most legendary. The details of her biography are hazy and too weird to be true, but we do know that after decades of teaching in the States she expatriated to South America to found an academy in the jungle. Save for an enigmatic manual for acting students and a catalog of physically hazardous exercises, we’re left with mere fragments of “the other Stella” (as she was known) and her version of “The Method,” which she called “The Approach.”
When asked why it is so interesting to write about sex, playwright Wallace Shawn observed, “Sex is still shocking. Conflict is built into the theme of sex because people’s desires are often at cross-purposes.” Conflict, the very essence of drama, makes the stage an ideal space to explore and perform the myriad faces of human sexuality. By tracing the ways in which theater has treated sex, we can track some changing cultural views of sex through history.
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Tim: What came first for you, writing or theater? Madeleine: It’s funny because I was just talking about this with my friend, the great playwright Rob Handel. We were talking about the different ways to get into writing plays. Some playwrights come from poetry and they get in through image and some come from acting and they get in through action or objective. I have a vivid memory of being in my acting class in college and being up there in the middle of an improv and feeling language just kind of volleying forth from me and my acting teacher standing at the back of the room as I was trying to improv the scene, shouting “Objective, Objective, OBJECTIVE!” [Laughter] I come at it from a delight in the surface topography of language as spoken by human beings. I think I can safely say that that is my entry point into plays. And I studied linguistics as an undergraduate, not theater, and I love listening to people talk.