Stage Kiss – By Karina Kim

May 25, 2011 in Cindy Bandle Young Critics by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

Goodman Theatre’s ‘Stage Kiss’ brings fresh and clever humor to the stage by Karina Kim The Goodman Theatre’s new production “Stage Kiss” by Sarah Ruhl is a refreshing new comedy that puts a clever edge on mundane life. Under longtime coworker Jessica Thebus’ direction, an outstanding Jenny Bacon plays She (as the character is called), an overly dramatic struggling actress who falls in love with her old lover, He, portrayed by Mark L. Montgomery. They start an affair together similar to what’s happening in the plays they perform. As their acting jobs change, so do their relationships. The two actors desire to become the characters they are playing. She even goes so far as to say in the play: “I want to be Aida Wilcox!” Ruhl cleverly expresses the characters’ dramatic demeanors, despite their bland and relatively uneventful lifestyle. Even though the characters are only named He and She, they are vibrant and very expressionistic. The sets in the plays within the play are ornate, even though the “real-life” sets are dreary and plain. Ruhl’s use of these techniques just add to the irony and humor of the production. It shows the two actors desire to become the characters they are playing. As She once said in the play: “I want to be Aida Wilcox!” Another cast standout is She’s husband, played by a hilarious Scott Jaeck. The set designs are beautiful and detailed. From the apartments to the “sets,” all of the designs are very fitting and complement the theater nicely. However, the plot is a bit inconsistent. Even though I won’t deny there were times I was crying from laughter, the script is a bit shallow–it is not gushing with depth and meaning. It’s just a simple theme with great acting. Ruhl’s use of slapstick comedy and clever phrases such as “giving bacon to a starving vegetarian” will give the audience a great time at the theater. The drama within the comedy just adds to the hilarity. Whether on an outing with friends or family, this new production by The Goodman is a play you will definitely fall in love with.