CORVALLIS - Diana Son's drama Stop Kiss will be presented Jan. 31, Feb. 1-3 and Feb. 7-9 in the University Theatre at Oregon State University.

Son's play has won awards for its promotion of understanding and tolerance, and was a finalist for the Susan Blackburn Smith Award, given to the best play by a woman written in English. At the heart of the play is a love story and the dramatic action is triggered by a horrific hate crime. The play is about tolerance, about not fitting people into neat boxes, about dealing with people as individuals not as stereotypes. Son also uses a great deal of humor to tell the story.

Stop Kiss will play on the main stage of the University Theatre in Withycombe Hall on the OSU campus. Tickets are available at the box office on performance evenings and Monday through Friday from noon to five o'clock. Reservations can be made by calling 737-2784. Tickets are $8 for general admission, with students and seniors receiving discounts. The production will be signed for the hearing impaired on Friday, Feb. 8.

The Sunday, Feb. 3, performance of Stop Kiss is in addition to the usual six performances of the University Theatre. The additional performance is to accommodate additional audience members due to Richard George's innovative set design that reaches into the audience and reduces the normal audience size.

Set in New York City, the play charts the course of a friendship between Callie, a cynical New York traffic reporter and Sara, an idealistic teacher who has come to New York to teach in an inner city school system. It is clear that Son, a New York transplant, like Sara in the play, loves New York.

Critics across the United States and world-wide have hailed the drama as a "touching and brave new play (whose) script is so remarkably real and (whose) characters (are) so warmly, imperfectly authentic". (Press Democrat) The Stage called it "a tough and funny play." Ben Brantley of The New York Times said it is "A sweet, sad and enchantingly sincere play. A delicately balanced comic drama." Eric Jackson of Time Out NY termed the play, "Compelling. A very funny and unsettling drama. With the precision of a heat-seeking missile, Son pinpoints moments of maximum fire."

Stop Kiss is performed without an intermission and contains language and situations which some people may find objectionable.

Richard George is the scenic and lighting designer; Margaret Jones, the University Theatre's new faculty member, is the costume designer; and Charlotte Headrick directs. In the cast are Camilla Dahlin (Callie), Jen Waters (Sarah), Philip Scott (detective Cole), J.J. Shurtleff (Mrs. Winsley), Ryah Radomski (Peter), Erik Potempa (George), and Jessica Duncan (nurse). Setenay Yener is the stage manager. Brian Bertram and Rebekah Garvin are the assistant directors. All are students at Oregon State University.

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Mohava Zinserling, 541-737-2853