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"Prelude to a Kiss" goes off without a hitch

by Shelby Toth - News Editor
Wed, Dec 5th 2018 01:00 pm
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By Shelby Toth | news editor 

 

On Friday, Nov. 30, “Prelude to a Kiss” opened on Brockport’s Mainstage in Tower of Fine Arts. The play had the audience laughing, crying and riding the rollercoaster of different themes and emotions throughout the two acts that made it up.

The play was performed with 12 cast members, ranging from freshmen to seniors, to a retired Rochester Institute of Technology professor. There were 12 different roles, as well as multiple ensemble members. 

The play follows young couple Rita and Peter as they meet at a party and instantly take interest in each other. However, they don’t quite click that night, due to the loudness of their surroundings and miscommunications. Peter goes to visit Rita at her job the following day, and that’s when things start falling into place. The love story is rapid from the minute the show begins, everything sudden and all-consuming. 

Then, the play slows down. There’s a touching moment where Peter attempts to teach Rita a Dutch phrase. The moment lets the audience catch up to the love they’ve seen unfold in front of them and truly is a beautiful scene. If you’ve ever fallen for someone, or even if you haven’t, it will pull on your heartstrings like no other.

From that point on, the couple continues to fall for each other, even getting married. During the ceremony, an old man that nobody knows comes and kisses the bride, causing the bride and the old man to switch bodies. What ensues is Peter’s search to discover what happened and how he can fix it.

There are many relatable moments in the play, like the awkwardness of Peter meeting Rita’s parents, but the most relatable pieces of the play lie in the themes throughout. One such theme was acceptance.

“Being able to accept someone for who they are, who you think they are and who you realize they are not [is the overall theme],” Chantal Yawson, who played Rita’s mother Mrs. Boyle, said. 

Ali Henderson, who played Rita, didn’t necessarily see the theme of attraction as being the most prevalent. Rather, she saw an integral theme within people’s connections to other’s lives.

“I think for me, the focus is really on the connection with people and seeing another person’s life and having that experience really open your eyes,” Henderson said. “Even though we won’t live forever, the hope is to fill that life with as much love and living as possible.”

Another, perhaps even more apparent, theme is people’s struggles with time. As a  young person, life may be scarey and you might want to skip ahead, whereas when you’re older, you want to be able to go back and make better decisions. 

“The deeper meaning of the show is to appreciate what you have now… it becomes a lot more prevalent when you watch the show all the way through,” Steve Kurdziolek, who played Peter, said.

That feeling of appreciating what you have resonates deeply with why the play was written in the first place. According to director Ruth Childs, in her Note From the Director that appeared in the program, the play was written in the midst of the AIDS crisis. 

The playwright Craig Lucas, saw his fellow gay community members get ill and turn from “vibrant young men” into the “elderly, ailing shadows of their former selves.” While this exact message might not have been outright expressed in the play, the “desire to remain resistant to the ravages of age,” as written by Childs, is very clearly there.

“I think it’s reflective of that you never know what you have until it’s gone,” Yawson said. “That’s really what it was for the old man and for Rita… you really see that it’s important that we have to live life to the best of its abilities. Take care of yourself, but also live.”

While the themes are easy to connect to, as mentioned before, people can always find themselves in a good love story. Prelude to a Kiss” has all of those things going for it, making it an entertaining yet introspective show for all ages.

 

brockport.news@gmail.com | @shelbtoth98