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What Did You Think About Kiss

Thanks for joining us for Guillermo Calderon’s Kiss. There are so many layers and in the writing and performance of this piece, click here to see excerpts from a conversation between Calderon and director David Dower.

As always leave your comments below – we love to hear from you!




  1. Sue FendrickOctober 26, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    This was an amazing production. I was taken in from the beginning by the absolutely fantastic acting and directing. Some interesting theater pieces are too clever for their own good–this one is just clever enough, with a lot of heart and soul and politics and intrigue. Highly recommended.

  2. As a member of the Arts Emerson Play Reading Book Club, I was glad to have been able to read, dissect and discuss the play with our group before seeing it! The actors, direction music and set were spot on, and really helped me to understand parts of the play I wasn’t able to wrap my head around with just reading it. Bravo!

    • What a fantastic production! The actors were immensely talented, the staging was dynamic and technologically advanced, and the play was relevant and thought-provoking.

      I wish I had seen the show earlier; it seems I missed the chance to be part of the Play Reading Book Club. Is there any way to read the play? I can’t seem to find the text anywhere online. The dialogue kept renewing itself in interesting ways, so I would be thrilled to have a hard or digital copy to examine the piece further.

      All in all, excellent work!

  3. I thought it was a fascinating play and a smart production. I was surprised to discover it was essentially an undergrad student production. Arts Emerson’s marketing was misleading as part of its world series. It should mark student productions clearly and present them at a lower price. (Please note that I sent these comments to Arts Emerson but did not receive a response.)

    • Gary– we did receive your positive comments and your request for a refund. I was slow, personally, to respond to the request from our box office staff, so that is on me. I’m glad you found the play fascinating and the production smart. I am very proud of these actors and only a little chagrined that their being known to be students has caused your assessment of the value of the experience to be diminished. My choice to work with these people had everything to do with the authenticity and bravery they could bring to this challenging material. It’s a play that presents an earnest, young company of theater makers who believe in theater’s capacity to change the world– belief that is a touch too naive and total for them to see their blindspots. They run smack into those blindspots and, as a result, into the limits of theater as a reliable narrator for complex and incomprehensible human tragedies on the scale of, and at the remove of, the Syrian crisis. Guillermo Calderon grew up under Pinochet and knows the dangers of “easy empathy” (my term, not his) — the situation when well meaning people have just enough information to feel good about themselves and not enough to truly feel the violent and distorting pressure of life under the type of chaos Syrians are living through. His play asks the actors cast in it to be willing to play actors who fail. And these young artists are doing that spectacularly well. But trust me when I tell you that, had the play asked them to play actors who succeeded in delivering the horror into your lap, they could have done that as well. These are serious theater makers from whom you will hear much in the future and I look forward to everyone getting to know them during this run.

      Thank you, as always, for your interest and support. And for your willingness to share your feedback both privately and in public conversations like this one. For ArtsEmerson, what’s on stage is the prelude to the conversation it provokes. I apologize for being slow to reply to your initial request for your money back, but am glad to have an opportunity to be in dialogue with you about the play itself here.

  4. Kati MitchellNovember 3, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    I thought the play was a bit of a mess, but was blown away by the performance of the four young actors, who were terrific! I was disappointed on their behalf that there was no way to identify them from the three people who were videotaping, since they were all labeled “performers.” These wonderful performances deserve for the audience to know who deserved the credit.

    • Kati— I am sorry you missed the credits rolling on the monitors, which actually identify the four leads by name. I agree, they are each doing tremendous work. Thank you for your enthusiastic response.

  5. rachel bransomNovember 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    As a frequent Arts Emerson patron, I expected better. The advertising did not say it was done by students. The play is impossibly convoluted and difficult to follow. I found it amateurish and found myself struggling to stick with it for 90 minutes.

  6. I thought it was a great show within a show. Maybe a few loose ends (transition to 3rd was a bit rough), but very thought-provoking and timely. This type of work is important, and we didn’t mind the wrinkles. Important topic, interesting ideas, good acting and relatively inexpensive tickets = a good theater experience.

  7. We were two audience members who did not like the play. The original premise was very interesting to me, and the possibilities it anticipated of superposed realities around important themes are the best that theater can offer as a medium. But, we both found the play implicit associations to be very basic and too simplistic. The organization of the play was too messy and the transitions were between obvious and frankly awkward. The actors were always in soap opera stereotyped delivery mode, but I guess this was on purpose?
    The actors have promising futures, but I hope I can see them when they do not deliver soap opera type of acting. The set was beautiful and appropriate and on target. I would polish the play working it to a more sophisticated level from what it is. It could be a great play… one day.
    Sorry for my negative reactions but thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be play critics for a second of our lives.


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