A Stage Kiss


Two times in my theater career did I have to kiss someone onstage.

And both times it wasn’t just a quick peck on the lips, it was a very INVOLVED kiss.

And ironically enough, both times it happened to be with actors who we couldn't stand one another.

One was a man.

And one was a woman.


Kiss #1



I was cast in a play based on a true story. It was a drama about the AIDS epidemic in New York City during the 1980’s. It was called, "The Norman Heart." I had the role of Ned Weeks (a character based off the author of the play, Larry Kramer)

It was a very intense show that we performed for six weeks, and I was incredibly happy when it was over because it was completely draining in so many ways. It was a three hour play containing 16 scenes. My character was in 14 of those scenes. And the topic was just so heavy.

Anyhow, about 10 minutes into the play my character happens to meet another man through a business encounter and we decide to make a date for dinner.

After dinner, the two of us go back to my apartment where after a few drinks and some talk about politics, we start making out on the couch.

Well, can I tell you something in private?

I would have MUCH rather been making out on the couch with Kermit the Frog.

Unfortunately, the actor playing my kiss-mate had the onstage passion of a piece of corrugated cardboard. He had no warmth or willingness. It felt as if he had an icy wall built around him.

AND…to top it off, he also had bad breath that smelled similar to Gorgonzola.

He and I never jelled from the start because our acting techniques were completely different. He liked to analyze and talk about everything, and I prefer to simply throw myself into a role and then see where it takes me during the rehearsal process. I like to leave a certain amount of spontaneity so that it feels organic.

This conflict, coupled with a personality clash, caused us to have ZERO chemistry onstage. Our chemistry resembled a dead horse on the side of a road. And that was very challenging for the both of us because our characters were meant to be passionate life-partners, who deeply cared for each other.

Therefore, we spent ten weeks (including rehearsal time) merely tolerating one another.

A stage kiss can be strange because you’re not really involved with one another on an intimate level, yet you must leave yourself open to create intimacy and passion.

Personally, I like to kiss. So, I had no reservations about doing it onstage in front of an audience, whether it was with a man or a woman. However, the person you're kissing also needs to contribute something to the kiss.

I remember the night we practiced the kissing scene in order to get a sense of timing and just how passionate it should be.

You haven’t lived until you’ve had a director stand about two feet from you, just staring, as you make out with someone over and over again; saying to you, “Could you just take a little pause here, and maybe go a little faster there?”

Me: (ok, CUT!…sorry, but I need a five minute break and a breath mint. I'm dying here.)

Kiss #2



The other kiss was to a woman who I had prayed would NEVER have to work with.

And to be totally honest with you, her feelings about me were mutual.

From the first time we met one another, years before this experience, you could just sense an aura between the two of us that said…“You know, I really can’t stand you. And I hope we never get cast in a show together, other than a play about two people who kill each other with chainsaws.”

I find it so incredibly ironic how when you desperately try to avoid someone that you don't like, KARMA will always see to it that you have to KISS them onstage - just for the hell of it.

The play was called, "The Sisters Rosensweig" I had the role of  New York "faux furrier" Merv Kant, a character who I absolutely loved.

In the play, the female lead and I portrayed two characters who meet by accident because someone gave me the wrong address. I ended up at her house, when I should have been somewhere else.

Quickly, my character falls head over heels for her and spends the next three acts trying to convince her that I’m the man she needs to spend the rest of her life with.

(yea…and I had to dig DEEP for that emotion, trust me)

After a dinner party at her house, all the guests go home leaving she and I alone; cleaning up cocktail glasses.

And after a long conversation, I decide to walk over to where she’s seated and kiss her. After the kiss, she and I walk hand in hand up the stairs to her bedroom, as the stage lights slowly fade to black.

Which concludes Act 1.

Now, I clearly remember the night during rehearsals when we had to practice our kiss for the first time.

You could feel the tension, as we were both thinking...

A. "Can I do this with someone I can't stand ?"

And B. "Can I make it look REAL?"

It was awkward, but we proceeded.

The director wanted the kiss to start off soft and gentle, and then gradually build into a “let me see if I can touch your tonsils with my tongue kiss.”

And the funny part about this, is that the actress who I was working with was married at the time and told me one night that her husband refused to come see her in the show because he couldn't bear to see her kissed by another man.

And I’m thinking,“Trust me buddy, you have NOTHING to worry about because after I kiss her each performance…she‘s all yours after the curtain goes down.”

Well, we both ended up making the kiss look real because we were professionals. And in this case our offstage dislike for each other worked for the characters in the play because there was supposed to be a tension between us. Besides, I loved the character that I played, so I enjoyed getting onstage every night, regardless of how I felt about the actress.

But I'll tell you, after our five-week run of the play, the two of us were happy to say, "Kiss off, baby!"

In conclusion:

Someone once curiously asked me, “What was the difference between kissing the man and kissing the woman?”

My answer?

“No difference…

…they both gave me HORRENDOUS nightmares.”


Have a faaaaabulous week, everyone!
X and Kisses

24 comments

  1. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comOctober 29, 2019

    Mowhahaha! You had me laughing out loud! Thank you.

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  2. Val DaggattOctober 29, 2019

    I loved this post, Ron. Always nice to hear or read about your on-stage experiences but, oh my gosh, this one was TERRIFIC. I admire you for being able to go on kissing someone you didn't want to kiss. Seriously, I couldn't have done it. I can't even imagine how you felt having to kiss someone so many times in front of audiences. You have some terrific memories, I hope we can hear more about your life on stage.

    Hope everything is going well for you. dear friend.

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  3. One thing I truly admire about actors and actresses is their ability to immerse themselves in a role and ultimately convince an audience of anything they want! You've explained this so well by describing your feelings of kissing other performers despite your lack of warm/fuzzy feelings toward them. I imagine the audience never knew your true feelings either!


    I suppose it take a real pro to be able to be so convincing. That's why some of us prefer working backstage, playing in the pit orchestra, or whatever to being on the stage and under the lights!


    Well done, Ron, and thank you for sharing your acting experiences. I find them most fascinating! xo

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  4. Oh how funny! I'm wondering, though, if you had been attracted to either person, the kiss would have been more difficult, just because of real sexual tension? I have no idea, as the only play I ever starred in was as a mean old hag who hated Xmas in a 6th grade production! Lol, no kisses for me!

    I'm always interested in hearing about your past careers, Ron! You've led a colorful life and it's fun to get to know you more. Hope you're enjoying the cold weather. XO

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  5. Thank you for giving lip service to a topic I'd never thought about before. I was cringing right along with you as you described both kisses, and the awkwardness of having the director hovering two feet away. I suppose under the right circumstances that could actually be fun, but THOSE WERE DEFINITELY NOT THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES.

    Can you imagine how porn stars feel?! They must truly be numb to it all.

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting story, Ron!

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  6. Oh my god Ron, this was hilarious! Along with being a solid photographer, you're also a wonderful storyteller. I can't imagine what it must be like to have to "act" as though you like/love someone as characters in a play, or a movie. I don't think I could do it. But then again, that's what makes actors, actors. They can transform themselves into someone believable.

    I didn't know you were an actor. What an interesting life you've lead. I would love to hear more stories!

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  7. Ron, I love this post!!! What a GREAT behind-the-scenes story about your time in the theater. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this. The Kermit the Frog reference was hysterical! And to think that you had to perform that show for 10 weeks! Did you have performances every night? I think it's hilarious that the woman you kissed had a husband who was jealous of someone kissing her. I mean it was a play, didn't he get that it wasn't real?

    WONDERFUL post, Ron! I love your use of the Hershey kisses. Too cute! Hopefully you'll share more stories about your life as an actor! ox

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  8. Happy to hear you had a laugh, Fiona :) Aren't I crazy?

    Much thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaantastic week!

    X

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  9. Thank you, Valerie. Glad you enjoyed.

    "Seriously, I couldn't have done it. I can't even imagine how you felt having to kiss someone so many times in front of audiences. "

    HA! It would have been much more enjoyable had we gotten along. But both times it was strained. Kissing her was actually much easier than kissing him because at least she was much more open and receptive.

    I will be sharing a few more posts about my theater/acting experiences in future posts. I recently found some photographs of my acting days, so they inspired me to share some stories.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear friend. Have a lovely week!

    X

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  10. Helloooooooo there Debbie!

    I truly think the "key" to being a convincing actor is your ability to forget about yourself and be willing to let go. As an actor, that's always been very easy for me. I can literally do anything onstage and feel comfortable. It's only when an actor becomes "overly aware" of themselves, is it a struggle to let go and become someone else.

    "That's why some of us prefer working backstage, playing in the pit orchestra, or whatever to being on the stage and under the lights!"

    Yes, and I bet you are FABULOUS at backstage work because you're very detailed and accurate. And that's what it takes to work backstage. Because truthfully, that's where all the "magic" takes place.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Wishing you a terrific week!
    X

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  11. " I'm wondering, though, if you had been attracted to either person, the kiss would have been more difficult, just because of real sexual tension?"

    I LOVE that you brought that up because, yes, that is something that could be difficult as well because of having "real" feelings for the other actor. I had that happen once while doing a play with another (male) actor. We never kissed each other onstage, however, we were partners in the play. He and I both were "attracted" each other in real life, so we were a bit tentative with each other "offstage" because we didn't want to spoil our "onstage" life.

    "the only play I ever starred in was as a mean old hag who hated Xmas in a 6th grade production! Lol, no kisses for me!"

    OMG...I would have LOVED to seen you in that play. I bet you were hysterical! Isn't acting fun?

    I will sharing a few more "acting/theater" posts in the future. I just recently stumbled upon some old theater photographs which brought back some great memories.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a wonderful week!!!

    X

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  12. HA! Mark, I LOVED your opening sentence! You are so witty!

    " and the awkwardness of having the director hovering two feet away. I suppose under the right circumstances that could actually be fun, but THOSE WERE DEFINITELY NOT THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES."

    Yes! Both times it was very awkward. However I will say that my kissing scene with the woman was much easier than with the man because at least she was more open and willing to let go, despite our offstage feelings for one another.

    "Can you imagine how porn stars feel?! They must truly be numb to it all."

    OMG..,yes, can you imagine!?! I once watched a documentary on porn stars and they talked about just that. It's a bit more challenging for the men because, well, they are required to "show" how excited they are, which can't be faked. LOL! But you're right, I bet they eventually get to a point where nothing bothers them.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaaaaabulous week!

    X to you and Tara

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  13. Hey there Candice!

    Glad you to hear you had a laugh. And thank you for your sweet words.

    " I can't imagine what it must be like to have to "act" as though you like/love someone as characters in a play, or a movie. I don't think I could do it. But then again, that's what makes actors, actors. They can transform themselves into someone believable."

    Yes, you're right. And for me, when it comes to "acting" I can pretty much do anything onstage and not feel self-conscious or awkward. However, when you don't really like the person you're acting with, it becomes challenging because acting is a "give and take" experience, in which you share the experience with the audience.

    I was an actor for about 25-30 years. I started very young. In fact, it was right after I graduated high school. I did a lot of theater when I lived in Florida because I was fortunate enough to get involved with some really good theater companies.

    I will be sharing a few other "acting/theater" stories in future posts. I just recently found some old photographs from when I was acting and they brought back some wonderful memories.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a most excellent week!
    X

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  14. Hola Denise!

    Aw...thank you. Glad you enjoyed! :)

    "The Kermit the Frog reference was hysterical!" Aren't I mean? But I can't help it, it's true. LOL!

    Yes...TEN weeks (including rehearsals). The play was originally scheduled for a 4-week run, however, they extended it. Oh boy, was I ever happy when it finally ended. We had performances six days a week, and two performances on Sunday.

    I will sharing a few more "acting/theater" posts in the future. I found some old acting photos, which brought back some really wonderful memories that I would like to share here.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a wonderful week!!!
    X

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  15. This made me laugh out loud. Honestly, I would have a hard time kissing someone I intensely disliked or was revolted by, even if it was acting. Thankfully, my acting career didn't extend beyond high school, so that was never an issue! But I've often thought I'd be like that woman's husband - I couldn't tolerate having my partner kissing someone else, or worse, doing sex scenes. It would just haunt me.

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  16. Ron, I feel like I'm in the audience, heartily applauding you for getting through those two horrible kisses!
    I personally love kissing - but could never enjoy doing it in front of an audience, or with someone I loathed. And I never realized how much work was involved in creating an on-stage kiss.


    Your descriptions are so vivid and humorous that I could picture everything! I'm late in arriving here (again) and glad that I didn't miss this post.
    And - my gawd! - I couldn't imagine being in a three hour play with sixteen scenes. What an enormous amount of work.


    The photo at the end is absolutely HILARIOUS!

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  17. Glad you had laugh, my friend. I was actually laughing myself as I was constructing this post, recalling the experience of both these kisses.

    This "kissing experience" taught me a lot about acting and how to creating an illusion, even when you can't stand the people your partnered with. The second kiss, with the women (even though we couldn't stand one another), I found much easier because she at least contributed something to the kiss. Whereas the man was just sat there like a complete DUD!

    "But I've often thought I'd be like that woman's husband - I couldn't tolerate having my partner kissing someone else, or worse, doing sex scenes. It would just haunt me."

    OMG..yes, sex scenes most definitely. I think that would bother me too if my partner was doing a sex scene because in many cases (especially in film) they practically ARE having sex!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a fantastic week!

    X

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  18. Hiya Jon!

    I can pretty much to anything onstage. I literally have no fear. I've even stripped down to my only underwear onstage and it didn't bother me. However, if the other actor/actress is not contributing something to the "passion" then it's difficult because it feels one-sided.

    "And I never realized how much work was involved in creating an on-stage kiss."

    That's because there has to be "timing" in order to progress through the scene. So the kiss has to be almost "choreographed" - like a dance.

    "And - my gawd! - I couldn't imagine being in a three hour play with sixteen scenes. What an enormous amount of work."

    It wasn't so much the memorizing of all the lines because that was never difficult for me. However, the topic of play was so heavy that it was so draining to perform each night. I was soooooooo happy on closing night when I did it for the last time. Oy vey!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a fantabulous week!

    X

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  19. Ron, what a marvelous story! You had me laughing so many times. God, I loved reading this. You should write a series of posts about your different experiences in the theater because as many as your other readers have said, I would love to hear more!

    I don't know if I could ever be an actress because I'm not only too shy, but also very self-conscious. I would think as an actor you have to be willing to abandon yourself to be another character, other than yourself.

    It's one thing to act in a movie and get it on film. But to act something every night, over and over again must be so hard to keep it fresh.

    That last photo is hysterical!

    Please share more, Ron. We all would love to hear more about your acting days! xo

    P.S. are you enjoying this cooler weather? I am

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  20. Helloooooo Elaine!

    Glad to hear that you laughed. I laughed too when I was writing this and remembering what it was like to kiss onstage!!!

    I will be sharing a few more posts in the future about different experiences I had while in theater. I found a few pictures and newspaper reviews on some of my stage shows and they brought back some really great memories.

    Yes, you do have to be willing to abandon yourself with you act. Only enough, for as shy and introverted as I can be offstage, I can pretty much do anything onstage and not feel self-conscious.

    "Have you ever made mistakes onstage or forgotten your lines?"

    OMG...yes...MANY times! And not only my lines, but also words to a song I was singing right in the middle of singing the song. I just completely blanked out.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're enjoying a wonderful week!

    X

    Yup...I am soooooooooo enjoying this cooler weather. But I could also take it being even cooler than what its been . I can't WAIT for cold weather and snow!!!

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  21. Wow, Ron, that post was the ultimate kiss off!

    This story is hilarious! Even though you clearly suffered in both cases, at least you got a funny story out of it--along with the horrendous nightmares!

    Where's Kermit the Frog when you need him?!?!

    I prefer your approach to acting--throwing yourself into the part and seeing what happens. My writing class is a lot like that where the teacher gives us a prompt and we just run with it. You're always amazed at where you end up!

    I honestly can't imagine how actors find the strength to get intimate with co-stars they can't stand and/or are not attracted to.

    I hereby nominate you for a special Tony Award: Best Endurance of Horrible Co-Star Kisses!

    Congratulations!

    Awesome post, buddy, have a great week!

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  22. HA! Rob, your first sentence made me laugh out loud. How clever you are with words!

    And it's funny because it wasn't until I found a few photographs of these two plays, did I recall all the detail in kissing them!

    "I prefer your approach to acting--throwing yourself into the part and seeing what happens. My writing class is a lot like that where the teacher gives us a prompt and we just run with it. You're always amazed at where you end up!"

    Yes, I TOTALLY agree! Isn't it amazing where you end up when you just throw yourself into something and ALLOW it to take you where you need to go? It's such a wonderful feeling to let yourself go, isn't it?

    "I hereby nominate you for a special Tony Award: Best Endurance of Horrible Co-Star Kisses!"

    HA! Thank you, buddy! And thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you're having a fab week!

    X

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  23. Ron, what an enjoyable post! I loved hearing about your time in the theater because I used to be involved in theater myself. The way you described your onstage kissing experiences with both your co-actors was hysterical. I would really enjoy hearing more about your time in the theater.

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  24. Hey there Daniel!

    You were in theater too? How COOL is that! I went to New York right after I graduated high school and attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I lived (and trained) in NY for five years. Afterwards, I moved back to Florida and ended up getting a lot of work there.

    I am planning on sharing a few more posts about the time I spent as an actor in the theater in future posts. So, stay tuned!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week!
    X

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