'Stage Kiss' takes center stage at the UO Robinson Theatre

A rehersal for the play 'Stage Kiss'

A fictional romance becomes true love for the two leads in “Stage Kiss,” which will premiere at the Robinson Theatre on April 22.

After two actors are cast as the romantic leads in a 1930s melodrama, they begin to lose touch with reality once the romance that was meant to be on stage follows them off stage. The director of the play, UO theater arts doctoral student Zeina Salame, said the heart of the play is a romantic comedy, but the script — written by Pulitzer Prize-nominee Sarah Ruhl — deals with topics such as feminism and postmodernism in a unique way.

“I found its postmodern qualities and meta-theatrics clever, fun, nuanced and complicated in such an exciting way,” Salame said. “It is also feminist minded. … It explores one woman’s journey towards reconnecting with her sense of self — and does so through the form of romantic comedy, quite intentionally on the part of the playwright.”

Ruhl’s past credits include two Pulitzer nominations for “The Clean House” in 2005 and “In the Next Room” in 2010. Ruhl wrote “Stage Kiss” in 2011, and this is the UO’s first time adapting the play.

Along with being a director, Salame’s also performed on stage for the UO in “Between the Acts,” “9 Parts of Desire” and “A moon for the Misbegotten.” For Salame, the story’s mass appeal to audiences is that it serves thought provoking questions and commentary in the form of a romantic comedy that’s equally funny and romantic.

“It is a romantic comedy and a love story at heart,” Salame said. “...The love of theatre folk for the craft, the love of parents for their children, the love in a brand-new relationship, the love in a long time marriage … it’s appealing to those who enjoy a laugh, some romance and some satisfying nostalgia.”

The play will premiere Friday, April 22, and will also be performed April 23, 28, 29, 30 and May 6-7. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for UO faculty, staff, non-UO college students and students in high school. Tickets are free for UO students with an ID card.

—By Craig Garcia, University Communications intern