'Kiss,' a daring play about migrants
'Kiss' is directed by University of the Arts professor Fadi Skeiker and features members of the Wilma HotHouse Company.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Kiss is a new production on the stage at the Wilma Theater. It's a play that uses theater as a medium to talk about migrant issues.
To learn more about the show, AL DÍA spoke with Fadi Skeiker, its director, about Kiss's arrival to the Wilma in Philly, and the heart that's at the center of its creative process. The hope is that those that go to see it can learn more about the reality of being a migrant in the United States with a little humor.
Kiss features a number of artists and technicians from across the world. Skeiker is Syrian and arrived in the United States six years ago, to Puerto Rican actress Taysha Marie Canales, who plays on of the main characters.
Skeiker said that the play is meant to make people ask the question: "What does it mean to have someone else represent you?" The plot of the story surrounds a group Americans and Syrians that cross paths with each other.
"I use theater as a way to talk about various social issues," Skeiker said. "I hope that the audience will be interested in the story and this will allow them to see how the whole issue of war is lived and reflect around the reality."
In addition to being a story that challenges its audience, inviting them to rethink the way they relate to the realities of migrants, Kiss internally represented a challenge for the team. They were not always on "the same page" about how they were going to go on stage as being such a diverse team. The result was a constant search for ways for each one to connect with the story in the best way.
In the end, Fadi, the actors and technical team were able to relate to the story that was going to be told and found themselves in it. Its essence goes beyond fiction and becomes a real issue worth talking about as it's presented.
"As a director I was challenged to make a fun space during rehearsals," Fadi told AL DÍA, adding that he "wanted everyone to feel loved, listened to and safe" while working on the play.
The story of Kiss begins with two couples spending the evening at home watching a soap opera. At first things seem comical and melodramatic, with an unexpected profession of love, an ill-timed marriage proposal and a stolen kiss. But when the soap opera is interrupted, the tables turn for the characters... and the audience.
Kiss was a hit at its D.C. premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company under the direction of Yury Urnov, current co-artistic director of the Wilma. Skeiker is the first Syrian director to direct the play.