excerpts from “The Kiss” by Michael Harding, performed by Thomas Griffin

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It’s a common…

It’s a common sight these days: a man or woman walking down the street, hand covering their ear, talking to someone not present, on a cell phone. Or a couple out walking the dog, with one of them chatting to someone—again someone not present—on a cell phone, while the dog tugs at the other arm and the spouse walks along in silence and the day passes unnoticed.

I’ve asked myself, “What’s is happening here?” Surely this is a symbol of our deep need for connection, for intimacy. But often it comes at a time when we’re presented with the possibility of intimacy right here and now and we miss it because we’ve answered the cell phone in the check-out line, the airport, or on a subway, ignoring the present moment and whomever is standing right beside us.

This is where theatre comes in and offers us what film and television never can: the here and now experience of intimacy. It’s possible with theatre to create a present moment experience of being understood, seen, and heard; to create the preciousness of interpersonal safety that a person might feel in a therapist’s office, while in a social context; to satisfy in a real, visceral, present moment way our deep need for connection and intimacy and thereby effect social change; I dare say, to heal like the rituals of old.

This is the model of theatre I’ve been exploring for the last 10 years. A model that’s coalesced under the aegis of the work of Acting On Impulse Theatre Company and especially, under the guidance of Jerry Levy: we’ve melded the sociological and the psychological into our performances and the intimate settings of those performances. Come explore yourself with us.

Two more in Brattleboro, Vermont of “The Kiss”…

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April 29th 2012 performance:

 

“Thomas Griffin is a fine actor and his performance complemented a very well written play by Michael Harding.” C.P.

 

May 5th 2012 performance:

 

I was easily swept up in the character’s life and perceptions. The story is still vibrating in my mind and stimulating conversations.” R.F.

Back In Brattleboro, Vermont with “The Kiss”…

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April 25th 2012 performance:

 

“It is dear, to those of us who appreciate good theater, to have the opportunity to witness a performer craft their character with the grace and sensitivity necessary to truly illuminate the artistry of the playwright, and this is precisely what Thomas Griffin has done in his superb performance of Michael Harding’s “The Kiss”. This work is an exquisite example of intimacy and refinement, capturing the rich imagery and the character’s subtle shifts of thought so eloquently, that one feels wooed by the introspection and finds the silences palpable.” Jess

Another performance of “The Kiss” in Dummerston, Vermont…

April 22nd 2012 performance:

 

“The gentle title, “The Kiss”, is turned on its head as actor Thomas Griffin (portraying a sensitive and now former cleric) leads us on a disquieting journey through a life.”
R.A.E., Dummerston, VT

 

“While the subject matter could be considered controversial…. the presentation from the ‘other side’ really makes you think about the bigger picture…even if you don’t want to.
The presentation itself was wonderful. Thomas’ attention to phrasing, articulation and dynamics gave the play a musical quality that I very much enjoyed. Thanks.”

Steve and Jane

 

“I felt privileged to experience the transcendence that unfolds when a man walks into a living room of friends and creates an entirely alternate reality by the simple use of a chair, a table, a light, some music and a brogue.” John McPherson

 

“Through the magic of quiet storytelling, a man’s life is revealed to have been a tragic failure. He gave himself over to the church at a time of upheaval and reform – a time when virtually every aspect of church beliefs were questioned. Having lost his own rudder as a result he failed to come to terms with himself and finally experienced humiliation and defeat.” John McPherson

 

Thomas Griffin’s portrayal is warm and human – even humorous – drawing one casually into the corners of his soul until one realizes how very dark his soul is and how uncomfortable one feels watching.” John McPherson   

In Marlboro, Vermont with “The Kiss”…

April 20th 2012 performance:

 

“The Kiss, as embodied by Thomas Griffin, was a profound evening of theatre, full of the nuance and complexity of a singular spiritual and emotional life.  I am looking forward to the next performance.” W.E.

 

“I was fortunate to attend a one man show, “The Kiss”, featuring Thomas Griffin, a profound actor who captivated the audience with his outstanding performance.  His character, humbled by his wrong doings, accepting of his fate, and questioning his actions. Thomas Griffin, a man who has magnificent talent, outstanding in his portrayal of a Catholic Priest who crossed the line…Thomas is a truly gifted actor. I would be honored to attend another performance again in the future.” S. Stoddard

“I felt completely transported from the opening line to the end.  I could have been in an Irish pub sitting with this endearing priest listening to his story, feeling his loneliness, his good-intentions, his regret.” Kirstin Edelglass

“If the performance had been in a theatre for 500, I would have joined the standing ovation.  I felt privileged to see it in the intimate setting of a living room and to be able to talk with the actor afterward.” Kirstin Edelglass

“I appreciated the opportunity to get to know the character as a human being – to feel my heart open to him as he navigated confusing cultural terrain – before learning about the act that would scar his identity in the public view.” Kirstin Edelglass 

“A captivating, thought-provoking, realistic portrayal.  It has changed the way I feel when I read headlines about excommunicated clergy.”  Kirstin Edelglass

“The Kiss” continues…

April 14th 2012 performance:

 

“Intimate and compelling…‘The Kiss’ invites us to explore our attractions and taboos by examining chance, choice and consequence. Thomas Griffin’s performance is engaging, contemplative and provocative.”  Ingrid B.

 

“Thomas’ performance was stunning.  I was completely engaged in the exploration of intimacy and taboo. This is a very provocative work well presented.”  Ingrid B.

 

“Michael Harding’s play, “The Kiss” paints a vivid, sensitive, poignant, non-judgmental picture of what’s it’s like to be a priest, from the inside out. But you don’t have to be Catholic to be moved by this play.” Wayne P. London, M.D.

 

“Thomas Griffin’s exquisite and stunning performance makes you feel you are actually watching a mature, thoughtful, introspective, older man reviewing his failed life and the context in which that failure occurred. You feel compassion for this priest who was also a victim.” Wayne P. London, M.D.

 

“The richness of Harding’s play and Thomas’ empathic performance encourage healing of this complex issue so often rendered in black and white.” Wayne P. London, M.D.

 

“Michael Harding has created a literary work of deep emotional intelligence, and empathy, and has exercised the discipline necessary to present a controversial issue in all its ambiguity.” Muriel Wolf.

 

“I was keenly drawn in by Thomas Griffin’s interpretation of this character, and was particularly moved because of his sense of timing and use of small silences; and by his facial expressions, which spoke far more than words can, and conveyed many subtle emotions. The scene in which Thomas relates the character’s youthful experience of desire for a stranger in a department store was heartbreaking.”  Muriel Wolf.