KISS

Odyssey Theatre
Los Angeles

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Critics LemonMeter

71%

A politically charged and emotionally urgent new play by acclaimed Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón. Damascus, Syria: 2014. Two couples meet for dinner to take their minds off the war raging around them. An unexpected profession of love, an untimely proposal and one kiss later, one of the foursome lies dead on the floor. What starts out as a Syrian melodrama quickly takes an unexpected turn. Intersecting the personal, political and theatrical, KISS breaks open cultural barriers, challenging us to confront the limits of our own understanding and exposing the suffocating effect of an oppressive, omnipresent regime.

Performances take place Fridays & Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., April 29 through June 18. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to www.OdysseyTheatre.com

Reviews

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"The whole thing is all very earnest. But a little bit of earnestness goes a long way, and too much quickly devolves into pretentiousness. And while many plays start obliquely, then clear things up by the end, "Kiss" is a play which starts confusingly, then spirals down into aggressive incoherence. It’s full of sound and fury, signifying… well, if you can figure it out, I wish you’d tell me."

""For the most part, I found the play to be quite effective in what it set out to do. At least up until the final ten minutes, which I found muddled and undermined the point and didn’t quite line up with the narrative “rules” established previously.""

"Kiss is a theatrical response to the endless horror in the Middle East and intends to arouse the emotions of an audience. What can the theatre world do to affect the situation? Very little it seems, except to call attention by touching the audience in a visceral way."

"Guillermo Calderón’s compelling, confounding vision of life and love and death in today’s Syria, the appropriately—or metaphorically—titled Kiss [is] now being given a never-less-than-daring Odyssey Theatre Ensemble West Coast Premiere."

"Kiss gets under the skin."

"“Kiss” isn’t easy for a critic to discuss, but it’s gratifying to contemplate."

"The offbeat and complex Kiss is not an easy play to mount, but thanks to the expert and inventive direction of Bart DeLorenzo and to the superb work of its young actors, many of whom are sure to go on to stardom, this comes off as one of the most compelling and provocative plays Los Angeles has seen in recent years."

"It’s all very mysterious, but not in an Orientalist sort of way; Calderón is too worldly for that. The mystery—personal, political and theatrical—is how much of our lives is mediated in ways we don’t even recognize any more: The TV we watch, the papers we read, the gossip we hear, the veracity we expect from our friends, lovers and colleagues. What can we trust? What do we understand, and how do we know it?"

"Regardless of it’s credibility gaps, Kiss provokes and stimulates conversation. It reminds us how lucky we are to live in a relatively trouble free environment where plays such as this can be staged without fear of repercussion. Go see it with an open mind and enjoy the ride."

"...director Bart DeLorenzo has cast the play well and given it a lively and stylish production. It’s always interesting, and the young multinational cast performs with considerable verve."

"The producers have asked reviewers not to give away any of the rapid torrents of twists and turns careening thorough highly acclaimed and controversial Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderon’s Kiss, now in its west coast debut at the Odyssey directed by Bart DeLorenzo. This makes the task of writing about Calderon’s insane little masterpiece nearly insurmountable, but let’s just say it starts like a quirky little contemporary dramedy that might have been written by Theresa Rebeck but ends up feeling like an undiscovered play by Sarah Kane. With smartly executed non-union productions of new works as brilliant as this potentially being mounted in LA, it’s purdy much a given that Actors’ Equity Association will soon be ancient history in this town. Nobody is going to control how the passionate artists who inhabit Los Angeles choose to express themselves and create art with the potential to change the world. Nobody."

"KISS is, above all, interesting. First, it is presented in an unusual format. Second, it will momentarily confuse you and, ultimately, force you think. Its greatest accomplishment is to show how much the point of a story can be missed when one is not fully aware of the circumstances."

"I am sure there are plays that will be written and demand to be seen about the current Syrian civil war and the resultant atrocities. Kiss is not that play. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and that just may be the destination some audience members will feel like they’ve been taken to"

"In Kiss, directed by Bart DeLorenzo at the Odyssey Theatre, Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón explores the gap (one might say chasm) in perspective between people who live in a war-free society (ourselves, at least for now), and those trapped in the horrors of war who are subject to atrocities committed by vile men, like Syria’s Assad."

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