Here’s a Stage Kiss review for all the lovers out there
A comedy set on stage is no easy feat. It requires comedic timing, which means actors need to be choreographed to the millisecond—while still making it seem natural—and deliver in ways that a drama doesn’t require. Comedies are, in most aspects, a different beast altogether.
Enter: Repertory Philippines’ take on Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, which tells the story of two ex-lovers who find themselves starring opposite each other in a stage production. In case you need a little more clarity, Stage Kiss is a play within a play; think Inception but not dreams.
The curtains open to an unassuming stage, littered only with a few metal folding chairs, some tables, a water dispenser in one corner and a piano on the other—it’s pretty flat, unimaginative and a little odd. But in comes She, played by Missy Maramara, and everything suddenly comes to life. She’s hilarious, desperate, hopeful and, in some ways, inspiring. And as the scenes go, she then comes across He, played by Tarek El Tayech, and the two are flirtatiously angry at each other, with a chemistry and comfort that only old lovers know how to maneuver.
Missy Maramara is an amazing She, quickly jumping from one believable emotion to the next as she portrays her character’s reality and fiction. She’s screaming and crying and loving—all within 30 seconds. Tarek El Tayech, on the other hand, is sweet and seductive and a complete asshole when the time calls for it. Robbie Guevara, as The Husband, is strong yet vulnerable, distant yet endearing.
We are, of course, introduced to the rest of the cast: Jamie Wilson as the Director, Andres Borromeo as Kevin, the Doctor, the Butler and the Pimp, Justine Narciso as Angela, Millie and the Maid, Mica Pineda as Laurie and Millicent. Everyone was amazing on stage—but unless you pay close attention to the scene (is it real? Is it the play within the play?), taking note of who is playing whom gets a little bit confusing.
Tarek El Tayech as He, Missy Maramara as She and Robbie Guevara as The Husband
As the story continues to unfold, the stage transforms from one environment to the next in perfect juxtaposition to the rest of the play. She falls back in love with He, the Husband takes that step back…everything seems fictionally perfect, until it isn’t. And this is where the entire point of the narrative starts to unfold.
When it comes to the story, Stage Kiss is pretty damn entertaining—but it packs a punch to the gut, too. Just when you start to think, “Hey, love does win out in the end,” it presents you with a shock in the form of a whisper that says, “No. Love gets tired, too.”
We’ve all been there; lucky are those that haven’t. But to see that story told on stage is something else. You pick up and relate to different moments and to different parts of the different conversations. Are you She, He, The Husband? Does your heart get away from you or has it ever? Do you regret walking away when you could have stayed? Or are you logic, sturdy and reliable?
Comedy, check. Drama, check. Romance, check. Stage Kiss? A definite check.
Stage Kiss, directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna will show at Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1 until March 1. Get your tickets right over here.
Art Alexandra Lara