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Annette Trossbach 2Stage Kiss comes to Lab Theater in November. When a bitter former real-life couple is united onstage to play romantic leads, the lines between illusion and reality are blurred. Is it love or just hormones? Playwright Sarah Ruhl gives us another hilarious and quirky comedy that is both clever and profound. “Suffused with warmth and humor,” says The New York Times. “Sarah Ruhl delivers a brilliant comedy that aims for big laughs and hits its target. Funny: There’s nothing like it,” add the New York Post, which gave Stage Kiss First Kiss 03four stars.

Performances are November 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. and November 15 and 21 at 2 p.m. at the theater, which is located at 1634 Woodford Avenue in the Fort Myers River District. Doors open one half hour before curtain.

On this page you will find announcements, news, releases and reviews for Stage Kiss.

 

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Lab Theater production pokes fun at celebs who fall in love on stage and in film (11-09-15)

Audition 05There’s a lot of kissing taking place down at the Lab Theater. He is kissing She. She is kissing He’s stand-in. She is even kissing another actress, solely for purposes of demonstrating the proper way to kiss another actor. Heck, even the director of the play within the play gets in on the act. But does that mean that stars Annette Trossbach and Paul Graffy and their castmates are going to launch into torrid off-stage affairs as soon as the show closes on November 21?

Femme Fatale 03Because that’s what happens in Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, on stage now at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Two unnamed actors called He and She are cast to play the leads in a glamorous 1930s romance. Problem is that they were involved some 20 years ago and never got over each other. Now, their onstage kissing rekindles their unresolved, unrequited passion causing She to leave her husband and He to jettison his girlfriend so that First Kiss 02they can resume where the left off two decades ago.

“When I kissed you just now, did it feel like an actor kissing an actor, or a person kissing a person,” She asks He at the end of Act One. And Hollywood is filled with infamous examples of actors and actresses who’ve blurred the lines between onstage romance and the real thing. Gable and Lombard. Bogart and Bacall. Burton and Taylor. Pitt and Jolie. But for most, stage kissing is anything but sexy. If anything, it’s downright awkward. Uncomfortable on many different levels.

First Kiss 03“You simply can’t tell two actors to ‘go at it’ and let them improvise,” notes one theater director. “No one in the audience would see anything. Heads would be in the way, etc. It’s even less romantic in the film world where there are camera men in track suits and mics stuck all over the place.”

On top of that, stage kissing is always highly choreographed. “Once a scene has been repeated and analyzed five times in a morning, nobody can The Play 13get carried away about anything,” notes Royal Central School of Speech & Drama head Geoff Colman.

Not convinced? Okay, try this little exercise. Grab your partner and work out a bit of kissing choreography. Agree on the angle of your heads, where your hands and arms will be and how they will move during the course of the kiss. Agree on how long the kiss will last and the sounds each of you will make during the kiss, and when. Then repeat the process say twenty times, while a friend videotapes you and stops you each time you deviate from the plan in even the slightest way.

The Play 01So then how do you explain the legion of examples where onstage lovers become real life partners? If it’s not all that kissing and heavy breathing, then what is it?

In many cases, it’s all the time the actors spend with each other when they are not on stage or in front of the cameras. Most films, for example are Green Dress 05shot on location where actors and actresses are quarantined from their spouses or significant others for months on end. They grab drinks together, talk endlessly about their theatrical experiences, hopes and aspirations, taking refuge from their loneliness in the arms of their onstage or onscreen lover or romantic partner. It’s no different than other workplace romances, except that in film and theater, the romance is more condensed, confined and glamorous. And even where the actors succumb to these influences, their love affair often disintegrates once they return to their real world lives  in much the same way as all those engagements and arrangements that come crashing back to earth after reality shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

Two People Kissing 02Still, all that kissing between Annette Trossbach and Paul Graffy did seem pretty genuine. Good acting or is there something more going on there?

“It doesn’t matter what you feel yourself,” Geoff Colman contends. “The point is what you tell the audience.” But what Colman is missing is that in the day and age of reality television, what the audience desperately wants to see is real life on stage or screen. Believing that even in acting there is a real life love story going on is what fascinates us.

Going Home 04So while playwright Sarah Ruhl intended Stage Kiss as a spoof of all those actors and actresses who substituted their onstage/onscreen romances for their real-life relationships, perhaps her next play will poke fun at modern-day, tabloid-consuming audiences who’d rather a salacious fiction than a solid, sobering real-life marriage.

But judge for yourself.

Stage Kiss – and all that smooching – is on stage now through November 21 at Lab Theater. See above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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‘Stage Kiss’ showcases depth and strength of talent of Lab Theater cast (11-07-15)

Reunited 01In 2008, playwright Sarah Ruhl told The New Yorker’s John Lahr that “everyone has a great horrible opera inside of them.” For He and She in Stage Kiss, which opened last night at the Lab Theater in the River District, the vibrato of their operas are a jangled bundle of unresolved feelings that linger from a youthful romance they shared twenty years ago. The passion they once shared Reunited 03is suddenly rekindled by the increasingly steamy kisses they must share on stage during rehearsals and performances when they are cast, unbeknowst to each other, as leads in a pretentious 1930s romantic drama. “When I kissed you, did it feel like an actor kissing an actor or a person kissing a person?” She asks He pointedly at the end of Act One. And with that, they fall back in love and in Rehearsal 07bed with each other in spite of the fact that She has a husband and teenage daughter and He is dating an Iowa-born schoolteacher who evinces a myopic form of optimism that demonstrates that opposites really do attract.

The key to appreciating Ruhl’s plays is knowing that she rejects out of hand the age-old formulation first proposed by Aristotle in which a person wants something, comes close to getting it but is beaten down, then finally gets it or not, First Kiss 02learning an invaluable lesson in the process. Sound familiar? It should. Cole Porter’s variation is the mainstay of most modern romances in which “boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets girl back.” And from The Wizard of Oz to the Star Wars saga, with everything from Rocky to Titanic mixed in between, modern-day thrillers, dramas and even comedies follow a similar theme known to many as “The Hero’s Journey.”

“I don’t find [that model] helpful,” Ruhl told Lahr in The New Yorker interview. “It’s a strange way to look Green Dress 07at experience.” And so plays like Stage Kiss are more episodic, with revelations in the moment where emotions transform almost inexplicably.

“I’m interested in these kind of state changes,” Ruhl explains. “‘I was happy, now I’m sad.’ If you distill people’s subjectivity and how they view the world emotionally, you don’t get realism.” What you get instead is the kind of irrationality we all experience, where we say and do things that are clearly not in our long-range best interests simply because they feel good in the moment or for reasons we cannot explain even to ourselves. It is this irrationality of Two People Kissing 02emotion that’s a recurring theme in Ruhl’s plays. It is this irrationality of emotion that is front and center in Stage Kiss.

And this is what makes a play like Stage Kiss so much fun for actors and audience alike. Because turbulent feeling can erupt at any moment and for no apparent reason, Graffy, Trossbach and the rest of this talented cast are compelled to shift emotional gears at a moment’s notice, without the benefit of backstory or weighty psychological explanation. Every skill they’ve ever learned or taught gets used, including farce, Next Day 02overacting, conventional comedy, drama, stage combat, accents and even singing a’ capella, as when She’s husband and He’s girlfriend join He and She in an impromptu rendition of Some Enchanted Evening after catching He and She in bed in He’s minimalist Lower Eastside Manhattan apartment.

Trossbach, in particular, excels at these quick changes, moving from farce to comedy to dramatic tenor and back with the aplomb of an acting instructor (which, of course, she is). For his part, Caught in the Act 01Graffy keeps pace, traversing a character arc that leads him from rudderless Narcissist to other-directedness by play’s end, with generous amounts of vulnerability and self-deprecation sprinkled in. Jack Weld and Matt Denoncour are hilarious as directionless director and hapless actor, and Holly Hagan is convincing as She’s ever-texting Holly 01Sopinionated daughter who amusingly draws a parallel between tattoos and marriage, which are both supposed to be permanent. Also convincing is Stacy Stauffer as the Polyannish Iowa-bred schoolteacher who questions what’s left if you can’t believe in the invisible, and Gil Perez is solid as She’s aggrieved grounded-in-reality husband who likens marriage not to a tattoo, but to repeitition – the sun going up, the sun going down each day.

Stage Kiss is billed as a romantic comedy, and the Next Day 05Splay delivers big belly laughs and throaty guffaws throughout Act One, mostly at the hands and via the facial expressions of Trossbach and Denoncour. But this play has a serious underbelly, and theater-goers will find that Act Two has a much darker and introspective feel.

As for romance, I guess it depends on your definition of that term. Graffy and Trossbach’s He and She convey lust more than love, an insatiable longing for lost youth and missed opportunity than a consuming desire to entwine their current lives together. Whore and the IRA 09Perhaps the vibe would be different had these characters not been together in the distant past, but then again, is it truly romance when actors import feigned feelings from the stage or cinema into their “real” lives? For every Gable and Lombard, Pitt and Jolie, there are hundreds of others who discover they’ve made a big mistake when the action’s over and lights go down – just like all those contestants on the Bachelor and Bachelorette. Which is another point in this play.

Going Home 06In the final analysis, Stage Kiss is a spoof that pokes fun at anyone who has ever been in theater or film. Ruhl drives this point home with a single line of dialogue, when Ruhl has She’s husband accuse her of falling in love with every leading man she’s ever been on stage with. Speaking of Pitt and Jolie ……

See above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Holly Hagan excels as surly, ever-texting tatooed daughter in Sarah Ruhl’s ‘Stage Kiss’ (11-07-15)

Holly 08On stage at the Laboratory Theater of Florida now through November 21 is Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss. Among the talented cast in the production is newcomer Holly Hagan.

Holly plays three roles in the play – that of Angela, as the Maid in the dreadful 1930s play within a play depicted in Act One, and as She’s surly ever-texting daughter Millie. It is in the latter role that Hagan really shines, delivering a dose of reality to her smitten mother about the security of marriage, not only from the perspective of the couple involved, but for their offspring as well. Marriage is like a tattoo, Millie tells her mom. Both are intended to be permanent.

Holly 12Ruhl uses the characters of the Maid and Millie to contrast how teenage girls have changed in the last 80 years from shallow and giggly to cynical and full of gravitas well beyond their tender years. Hagan’s portrayal clearly makes Ruhl’s point.

While Stage Kiss represents her Lab Theater debut, it is not Holly’s first rodeo. Holly was last seen on stage as Thomasina Coverly in Arcadia and Kate Keller in The Miracle Worker. You can see Holly Hagan in Stage Kiss through November 21. Please see above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Gil Perez plays role of aggrieved husband in Lab Theater’s ‘Stage Kiss’ (11-07-15)

I Am in Love With Him Now 02On stage at Lab Theater now through November 21 is Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss. Playing the role of Annette Trossbach’s onstage husband is Gil Perez.

Perez is happy to be back on stage after a five-year absence. He is a native Floridian and after almost fourteen years in the area, he is practically a Southwest Florida native as well. His favorite roles include Jake Meighan in Williams’ 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, Bob Cratchitt in Ebenezer! The Musical, and Lord Savage/Spyder in Jekyll/Hyde.

In Stage Kiss, Perez plays a supporting role, but he makes the most of his opportunities and has some big moments late in Act Two of the play. Go see him work for yourself. Please see above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Spotlight on ‘Stage Kiss’ playwright Sarah Ruhl (11-06-15)

Sarah Ruhl 07On stage now through November 21 at Lab Theater is Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss. The production represents the play’s Florida debut.

Ruhl became something of a Broadway sensation with In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, which opened at the Lyceum Theatre in 2009. The play explores the history of the vibrator, which was developed for use as a treatment for women Sarah Ruhl 03diagnosed with hysteria. “One physician argued that at least three-fourths of women had ailments that could be cured by the vibrator,” Ruhl discovered during her research for the play, which was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play, Best Featured Actress and Best Costume.

In addition to Stage Kiss, her other plays include The Clean House (a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the 2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), Passion Play, a Sarah Ruhl 08cycle (Pen American Award and Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center), Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play), Melancholy Play, Eurydice, Orlando, Demeter in the City (which garnered nine NAACP Image Award nominations), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters and Dear Elizabeth. Besides Broadway, her plays have been Sarah Ruhl 04performed at several off-Broadway venues, including Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage and the Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater, as well as in downtown Manhattan’s Clubbed Thumb and Classic Stage Company. Regionally, Ruhl’s plays have been produced all over the country, with premieres at Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Arena Stage, Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Madison Repertory Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cornerstone Theater and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. International productions have been staged in London, Germany, Australia, Canada and Israel, and her plays have been translated into Spanish, German, Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Korean and Arabic.

Sarah Ruhl 10Originally from Chicago, Ruhl received an M.F.A. from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award and the Whiting Writers Award. She was a member of the 13P and of New Dramatists and won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 for “creating vivid and adventurous theatrical works that poignantly juxtapose the mundane aspects of daily life with mythic themes of love and war.”

She was recently the recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Feminist Sarah Ruhl 09Press’ Forty under Forty award, and the 2010 Lilly Award. She is currently on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama and resides with her family in Brooklyn.

Until she met Vogel at Brown University, Ruhl intended to be a poet, and she even published a book of poems when she was just 20 years old. But after changing direction, Ruhl gained widespread Sarah Ruhl 02recognition in 2004 for The Clean House, which centers around two married doctors who hire a Brazilian housekeeper who is more interested in coming up with the perfect joke than in cleaning. The characters are challenged to find love and joy in spite of death after the husband falls in love with one of his cancer patients.

Ruhl is also known for her Passion Play trilogy, which depicts the staging of a Passion Play in Elizabethan England, Nazi Germany and the United States during the time of the Vietnam War.

Eurydice is a homage to her father, who took his daughters to the Walker Sarah Ruhl 06Brothers Pancake House for breakfast from the time Sarah was five and taught them a new word (such as ostracize, peripatetic and defunct) and its etymology. The play explores the use and understanding of language, and was a way to have a few more conversations with her dad, who died of cancer in 1994.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone explores technology and the disconnect people are experiencing in the digital age. “Cell phones, iPods, wireless computers will change people in ways we don’t even understand,” Ruhl notes in connection with the play. “We’re less connected to the present. No one is where Sarah Ruhl 05they are. There’s absolutely no reason to talk to a stranger anymore – you connect to people you already know. But how well do you know them? Because you never see them – you just talk to them. I find that terrifying.”

In Stage Kiss, Ruhl parodies the unreality of theater while fathoming the realities of relationships and of life and how far people go for love and how much of themselves they are willing to sacrifice in the process. A denizen of the theater who is familiar with actors on stage, back stage and off stage, Ruhl loving pokes fun at the ways in which performers often have difficulty in separating fact from fiction, the real from pretend, the actual from the magical.

The Play 11Stage Kiss stars Lab Theater’s own Annette Trossbach and Naples Players’ Paul Graffy, with supporting roles played by Jack Weld, Matt Denoncour, Holly Hagan, Gil Perez and Stacy Stauffer. Please see above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Stacey Stauffer part of Lab Theater ‘Stage Kiss’ cast (10-28-15)

Stacy 03Opening November 6 at the Laboratory Theater of Florida in the River District is Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss. Joining the cast of Annette Trossbach, Paul Graffy, Matthew DeNoncour, Jack Weld, Holly Hagan and Gil Perez is Stacey Stauffer.

Stacey was a stand-out in last season’s debut of Laura Lorusso’s Scrooge TV: A Modern Christmas Carol. Before that, Stacey performed in multiple roles (Hannah in This Flight Tonight and Cate in A Traditional Wedding) in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays and was in Rumors, Vagina Monologues, and a staged reading titled The 48th Parallel. In Stage Kiss, she plays He’s befuddled midwestern schoolteacher girlfriend.

You can see Stacey in Stage Kiss. Please see above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Matthew DeNoncour joins Trossbach and Graffy in Lab Theater’s production of ‘Stage Kiss’ (10-26-15)

Playing Cards 03When Matthew DeNoncour took the part of Otto Frank last season in Lab Theater’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, hew was new to Southwest Florida. “I only moved here three months ago and joined the cast only eight weeks before the opening as a replacement for the original Otto [who took a job somewhere else and had to move away],” DeNoncour said at the time. “But it’s so nice to work with people who get along and respect each other, I hope to stay involved with Lab Theater.”

And he has. DeNoncour will join Annette Trossbach and Paul Graffy in next month’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss.

Anne and Otto 12LPrior to moving to Florida and debuting at Lab Theater, Matthew DeNoncour’s onstage credits included the roles of Archie Kramer in Summer and Smoke, Dr. Woody Zellner in The Distinguished Physician’s Society, Etienne in A Flea in Her Ear, Eddie Ryan in Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, Daddy in The American Dream, Professor Williard in Our Town, Dumain in Love’s Labours Lost, Artie Shaugnessy in The House of Blue Leaves, and Doc Caius in Merry Wives of Windsor. His off-stage credits include Lighting Designer in Angels in America Part I, for which he received a TAG Award nomination, director in Side by Side by Sondheim, and Lighting Director in Floyd Collins: The Musical, for which he also received TAG Award and OEA Award nominations.

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Paul Graffy plays male lead in upcoming Lab Theater production of ‘Stage Kiss’ (10-25-15)

Paul Graffy 02Stage Kiss opens at Lab Theater on November 6. Playing the lead will be actor Paul Graffy.

Most folks in Southwest Florida know Graffy as a real estate broker extraordinaire. He was featured in the Wall Street Journal after negotiating the sale of a premier 3-beach estate in Naples for a breathtaking $42 million. Since launching his real estate career in 2000, Paul has represented many of Naples’ some notable families, selling many of Naples’ signature properties. Along the way, he has been recognized by the “Real Trends/Wall Street Journal Top Agents” Rehearsal 05report as a member of the exclusive Top-1/2-of-1-Percent-of-Realtors-Nationwide club, received Gulfshore Life‘s 5-Star Client Satisfaction Award, multiple Platinum Circle of Excellence Awards, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Interestingly, prior to 2000, Paul worked for designers Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Joe Boxer and Big Dog Sportswear. He served as Vice President of Sales for the latter three, garnering the fashion industry’s coveted Green Dress 09Earnie Award in both 1995 and 1996.

But Graffy’s involvement in the performing arts pre-dates his careers in fashion and real estate. As a young man, he was one of 20 students selected nationwide to attend the prestigious Julliard School of Music at Lincoln Center in New York. After finishing his training at Julliard, Paul performed in numerous productions both in New York and regionally before pursuing a career in Next Day 03sales.

In 2011, Florida Weekly recognized his stage talent with its Best Actor award. He was seen in the lead at The Naples Players in 2014 in Moon Over Buffalo. But for as good an actor as he is, Paul has a passion for directing. “In the performing arts, you can study until you’re blue in the face. You have to do it (to actually learn.),” Graffy told Florida Weekly’s Chris Silk in a 2012 interview. “Like any other art, you learn more from your failures than your successes. Every time it’s a whole new playbook.” Graffy directed Les Liaisons Dangereuses for Whore and the IRA 03The Naples Players in 2014 and Steel Magnolias for The Naples Players in 2013. He’s directed at other places as well, including at Juilliard while he was a student there.

Graffy also knows the business end of theater, having served two terms on the Naples Players’ Board of Directors.

You can see Graffy in action on the Lab Theater stage in Stage Kiss. See above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Lab Theater’s Annette Trossbach to star in Sarah Ruhl’s ‘Stage Kiss’ (10-24-15)

Annette TrossbachStage Kiss opens November 6 at Lab Theater. The female lead belongs to Annette Trossbach, founder and artistic director of the Laboratory Theater of Florida and the Gulf Coast Shakespeare Festival. Classically trained at the innovative East 15 Drama School in London, U.K., Annette has worked with Margaret Walker (What a Lovely War), international combat choreographer Mike Loades, director Terry Johnson, Alasdair Ramsey and actor Tony Scannell. She directed in England and Germany before moving to the United States. She is a 2010 recipient of the Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40 Award and a two-time Zelda Fichandler Award nominee.

Last season, she starred in My Brilliant Divorce, My Brilliant Divorce 01a one-woman show in which she played 20 separate characters. Among some of the other favorite roles she has played are Sylvie in Intimate Exchanges, Yelena in The Wood Demon, and Netta in Cavalcade. Her directing credits include last season’s critically-acclaimed production of Diary of Anne Frank, Miss Witherspoon and Glengarry Glen Ross.

Annette has been teaching theater and acting skills for more than 20 years. At Laboratory Theater of My Brilliant Divorce 10Florida, she and her company continue the East 15 focus of teaching core theatrical skills such as character development, stagecraft, combat, textual analysis, voice and physicality to new actors of all ages.

Please see above for play dates, times and ticket information. 

 

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Is What Happens in Laboratory Theater’s production of ‘Stage Kiss’ love or just hormones? (10-23-15)

Annette Trossbach“When I kissed you just now, did it feel like an actor kissing an actor or a person kissing a person?” asks the leading lady of Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, playing in the month of November at The Laboratory Theater of Florida. “Because I’ve kissed you so many times over the last few weeks, I’m starting to not know the difference.”

This smart romantic comedy, opening November 6, 2015, tells the story of two actors with a lot of history who are cast opposite one another in a Broadway show. Audiences will recall prize-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl’s play In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, which The Laboratory Theater of Florida presented to sell-out audiences in 2012. Ms. Ruhl’s comedies are at-once witty, charming, and profound. And Stage Kiss is no exception.

Annette Trossbach 3The play will star artistic director Annette Trossbach, last seen in 2014’s comedy My Brilliant Divorce at Lab Theater, in which she played over 20 different characters, and in Intimate Exchanges at Theatre Conspiracy. She plays alongside Southwest Florida actor Paul Graffy, last seen in God of Carnage with The Naples Players and in numerous productions with TheatreZone. They play the former couple who are cast as romantic leads and eventually fall in – and out – of love again. Also in the cast are Matt DeNoncour (The Diary of Anne Frank), Stacy Stauffer (Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays), Jack Weld (Glengarry Glen Ross), Holly Hagan, and Gil Perez. The play is directed by Lois Kuehne, who has previously directed The Graduate, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile, all for Laboratory Theater.

Keep reading for more news, reviews, releases and announcements.

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‘Stage Kiss’ starring Annette Trossbach and Paul Graffy up next at Lab Theater (10-21-15)

AnnetteLab Theater’s next play is Stage Kiss by playwright Sarah Ruhl. The New York Times made the play a Critic’s Pick when it first opened, saying that it is “suffused with warmth and humor.” The New York Post gave it four stars, adding that “Sarah Ruhl delivers brilliant comedy that aims for big laughs and hits its target. Funny: There’s nothing like it.”

The play tells the story of a bitter former real-life couple who are united onstage to play romantic leads, blurring the lines between illusion and Paul Graffy 1reality. Is it love or just hormones? Playwright Sarah Ruhl gives us another hilarious and quirky comedy that is both clever and profound.

The play stars Annette Trossbach and Paul Graffy as the former couple who are cast as romantic leads and eventually fall in – and out – of love again. Annette was last seen in 2014’s comedy My Brilliant Divorce at Lab Theater and in Intimate Exchanges at Theatre Conspiracy. She plays alongside Southwest Florida actor Paul Graffy, last seen in God of Carnage with Otto Frank 02LThe Naples Players and in numerous productions with TheatreZone. Also in the cast are Matt DeNoncour (The Diary of Anne Frank), Stacy Stauffer (Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays), Jack Weld (Glengarry Glen Ross), Holly Hagan, and Gil Perez.

The play is directed by Lois Kuehne, who has previously directed The Graduate, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile, all for Laboratory Theater.

Performances are November 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. and November 15 and 21 at 2 p.m. at the theater, which is located Laboratory Theater Exterior 2 (3)at 1634 Woodford Avenue in the Fort Myers River District. Doors open one half hour before curtain.

Tickets are available online at www.LaboratoryTheaterFlorida.com or by calling 239.218.0481. Online tickets are $12/$18/$20. At the door, tickets are $12 for students and $25 for adults. The theater also offers Thursday night discounts to seniors and military, at $18.50 per ticket. Seating is limited.

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Auditions for Stage Kiss to be held at Lab Theater on Sunday, July 12 (07-06-15)

Stage Kiss 01Auditions for Lab Theater’s 7th season will be held on Sunday, July 12 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the theater, which is  located at 1634 Woodford Avenue, on the corner of Woodford and Second Street in the Fort Myers River District.

One of the plays that is being cast is Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl, which will be performed on November 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20 and 21. When a bitter former real-life couple is united onstage to play romantic leads, the lines between illusion and reality are blurred. Is it love or just hormones? Sarah Ruhl gives us another hilarious and quirky comedy that is both clever and profound. “Critic’s Pick. Suffused with warmth and humor,” says The New York Times The whole cast sings “Some Enchanted Evening”. The leads do a whole lot of kissing!.

Annette Trossbach 4The cast includes the following characters:

  • “She”: female, mid-forties, one same sex kiss. Helpful if can do “Brooklyn” accent. Singing.
  • “He”: male, mid-forties, Helpful if can do an Irish accent. Singing.
  • Director: male, any age, same sex kiss.
  • Kevin: male,mid-twenties, plays several parts, same sex kiss.
  • “Husband”: male, in his fifties, also plays husband.
  • “Millie”: Female, older teen to twenties. Plays a 15-year-old in addition to 23-year-old.
  • “Millicent”: Female, late twenties to thirties, same sex kiss, also plays the girlfriend.

Actors will be auditioned on a first-come, first-seen basis. Actors should come with a 1-2 minute comedic and/or dramatic monologue. Actors should be prepared to do cold reads. Actors who are not available on July 12 may send a resume and headshot to: Casting, c/o The Laboratory Theater of Florida, PO Box 334, Fort Myers, FL 33902.

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Lois Kuehne to direct Stage Kiss for Lab Theater in November (05-20-15)

Lois Kuehne 01Lois Kuehne will be directing Stage Kiss at Laboratory Theater next season. Written by playwright Surah Ruhl, Stage Kiss is a hilarious, quirky comedy that tells the story of a bitter former real-life couple who are thrown together as romantic leads in a forgotten 1930s melodrama.

Kuehne  has directed musicals, comedies, mysteries and dramas for many years. Stage Kiss will be the fourth production she had directed for Lab Theater. It follows The Graduate, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Other Lois Kuehne 03productions that she has especially enjoyed over the course of her career include Singin’ in the Rain, Harvey, Clue, the Musical, Street Magnolias, My Fair Lady and The Lower Room.

Over the years, Lois has also been a scene designer, lighting designer and costumer. In this regard, she won the Broadway World award for Best Costumes for Amadeus and Best Set Design for On Golden Pond.

Lois is a graduate of the School of Communication at Ohio University, and ran a successful community theatre on the east coast before relocating to Southwest Florida.

Please see above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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