Kissing a Joyous Collaboration
Front Porch Arts Collective and The Huntington
By: Huntington - Jan 23, 2023
Front Porch Arts Collective and The Huntington announce the cast and creative team of K-I-S-S-I-N-G, their co-production of the world premiere play written by Massachusetts playwright and Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lenelle Moïse and directed by The Porch’s Co-Producing Artistic Director Dawn M. Simmons. Front Porch Arts Collective is in residence at The Huntington as part of a multi-year strategic partnership. The production runs from March 3 – April 2, 2023 at The Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA with digital access to the filmed performance available until April 16, 2023.
K-I-S-S-I-N-G follows high school student Lala as she makes fine art on the back of pizza boxes. A sweet and sticky summer inspires her to romance Dani, a budding feminist – and Albert, his smooth-talking twin – in this heart-opening story for fans of David Bowie, bell hooks, and fireworks by the Charles.
Award-winning poet, playwright, screenwriter, and performer Lenelle Moïse (pronounced Len-EL Moy-EEZ) grew up in Cambridge and is the former poet laureate of Northampton where she currently resides. Her writings and performances have been praised for their passion, musicality, and insight; Time Out New York says, “Moïse writes on subjects from race and class struggles to love and feminist-fueled anger, her verses tumbling out in a delivery that’s like smooth notes of jazz.” Her book of verse and prose, Haiti Glass, moves deftly between growing up as a Haitian immigrant in the suburbs of Boston, to bearing witness to brutality and catastrophe, to intellectual, playful explorations of pop culture enigmas like Michael Jackson and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The New York Times called her poetry full of “fierce passion” and The Lambda Literary Review described her words as “poetry to be savored, then devoured, then shared.”
“I was inspired by rom-coms, humid summers, mixtapes, and public displays of affection,” says playwright Lenelle Moïse. “K-I-S-S-I-N-G is an intentionally romantic, funny, and tender story. Here, pleasure takes center stage… I think of [the play] as a date-night for revolutionary thinkers. Black love-lives matter, too! I became a storyteller because I am interested in empathy. With this show, I'm inviting the audience to empathize with young people as they explore romance, sexuality, and dignity. It’s a whole vibe!”
“Lenelle Moïse has created a love letter to Boston, to Cambridge, to love, and to Black joy,” says director Dawn M. Simmons. “The story and its characters wear their hearts on their sleeve, and we hope people will leave the theatre caught up in the love.”
Originally commissioned by the Clark University Visual and Performing Arts Department, The Huntington included K-I-S-S-I-N-G in its Summer Workshop reading series in 2016.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Lenelle Moïse she/her (Playwright) was a Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow, a Next Voices Fellow at New Repertory Theatre, and a 2018 Playwright-in-Residence at Ithaca College Theatre Arts. Her Ruby Prize winning comedy, Merit, was featured on the 2016 Kilroys List. In 2008, the Culture Project launched an Off Broadway production of Expatriate, Lenelle’s critically acclaimed two-woman show with all-vocal music. Her other plays include The Many Faces of Nia, Matermorphosis, Little Griot, Spilling Venus, Cornered in the Dark, and Purple. Lenelle earned an MFA in playwriting from Smith College. As an actor, she co-starred with Karla Mosley in Expatriate, and appeared in the Off Broadway production of Rebel Voices, a play based on Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People's History of the United States.
Dawn M. Simmons she/her (Director) is a director, playwright, administrator, cultural consultant, and co-founder of Front Porch Arts Collective. She has worked regionally with JAG Productions, Play on Shakespeare, The Hangar Theatre, and WAM Theatre. Locally she has worked with Central Square Theater, New Repertory Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Lyric Stage Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, SpeakEasy Stage, New Repertory Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Bad Habit Productions, New Exhibition Room, Boston Public Works, Fresh Ink Theatre, The Theater Offensive, Our Place Theatre Project, and Fort Point Theatre Channel. Dawn also a co-founder of New Exhibition Room with A. Nora Long, a co-director with Arts Connect International, and proud member of StageSource.