The actor, writer, director and theatre critic Paul T. Davies writes his second in a series of blogs for Keep Colchester Cool, and explains that a kiss is not just a kiss!

We all know the classic song don’t we? “A kiss is just a kiss; a sigh is just a sigh”. We all remember this! Right? Well, I take issue with that. All the potential millions of sighs you make in your life- they can’t all be the same? Sighs of pleasure, anticipation, sexual sighs, impatient sighs, the sarcastic sighs that you’re probably emitting as you read this. And kisses? A kiss off your Aunty Rosie, that moustached old dear who always grabbed you on her way out, is very different from kisses given and received from a lover, life partner, a one night stand. Each has a different code and memory, depending on the importance.

The reasons for this musing on lip exchanges is that in our recent Play Something rehearsal, by focussing on two different scenes, the cast chose scenes featuring very different kisses. Coded with different meanings. To recap, my play follows a gay relationship from a casual pick up in a club right through to Till Death Do Us Part. Called simply M and F, the characters have younger and older versions of themselves. Part memory play, part future imagination of the end of the relationship. They ask the DJ to play something relevant to their scene. Now focus, I don’t want to have to tell you that again! ☺

So, in two separate rooms thanks to the lovely rehearsal space we have, older and younger couples chose a scene to develop. The younger worked on Play Something to split up to. The older versions chose… well, the wedding scene. At a workshop I attended recently, an excellent director, leading an excellent workshop on creating up close and personal relationships in theatre, said “Dive in at the deep end. Then structure steps to make it real.” And that’s exactly what my cast are doing. The break up scene was emotional, exhausting, personal experience and recognition coming into play. M, his attitude and alpha male behaviour forming his personal armour, thinks that another fuck will make F stay. With Stay With Me by Lorraine Ellison belting out in the background, (their choice of split up song), F rejects this… and kisses M. Then leaves, therefore the last memory M will have of F is of him being totally tender. And Jacko/M looked heartbroken, realising exactly what he had allowed to walk out on him.

Contrast that in the next scene presented with older M and F, having reunited by accident years later, exchanging their wedding vows. And it’s Older M, played by Matt, who cries. Older F just smiles. And at the end they kiss. A completely different kiss, as now it is for life. Tender and forever. So, a kiss is not JUST a kiss, Sam, actually. I won’t tell you what their Play the First Dance song is, because the audience may get to choose that! But in trying to tell the lifetime of this relationship, I think you’re a lucky person if you have a collection of kisses that mean so much to you. So, come on then, what’s your split up song? Or your kiss song? Let me know!

PAUL T. DAVIES.

Play Something performs at the Mercury Theatre Studio on February 26th/27th.

Read Part 1


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