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"Stop Kiss" and "Bosoms and Neglect"

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Stop Kiss, by Diana Son, is a deft and canny play about the coming out of the closet of two young women to whom a kiss with near-fatal consequences reveals their lesbian identity. There is a bit too much cuteness here, intensified by Jo Bonney's perhaps too arch direction, but there is also fetching savvy in both writing and production. The structure -- jumping backward and forward in time with the crucial moment withheld till the climax -- owes something to David Hare (Plenty) and Simon Gray (The Common Pursuit). Yet this is a real play in its own, free-spirited right, and the strong but a trifle fussy performances by Jessica Hecht and Sandra Oh, well supported by four others, stick in the mind. But given the Public Theater's insistence on color-blind casting, some minor adjustments in the text would have been helpful.

John Guare's Bosoms and Neglect (1979) at the Signature Theatre Co. also has genuine merit. The author temerariously compresses three major subjects (family relations, psychiatry, cancer) and two lesser ones (bibliophilia and divided loyalties in sexual affairs) into one three-character play. That he succeeds even partially, that he is often quite funny, and that his frame of reference is fearlessly highbrow deserve admiration. Under Nicholas Martin's generally adroit direction, Mary Louise Wilson and David Aaron Baker contribute capitally, Katie Finnerman somewhat less so.


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