My most enduring blog post ever, on stage kissing, continues to recieve questions and comments on a regular basis. In fact, it received two just this week.
One of them was unique, however. I got a question from soneone on the other side of the kissing situation; I heard from the partner of an actress that will have to kiss someone on stage in the near future. I have never been approached by someone from this angle of the issues before. I thought it deserved its own post. Here are the comments:
My girlfriend is acting in a play that calls for a wedding scene kiss. I've never been involved in theatre and the thought of her having to do romantic scenes did not bother me until she was actually cast in one. I understand that it is a portrayal of her character's emotions and not her own. She is very trustworthy and I know she doesn't have feelings for the other guy. I'm just having a hard time with the fact that it is still a real kiss, and I can't help but feel like I am sharing her with someone else. This probably sounds lame to experienced actors, but I have never dealt with this kind of thing before and I just haven't been able to feel secure about it. She plans to pursue acting as a career and I plan on staying with her, so I need to figure it out somehow, since there will probably be more intense romance roles in the future. I am sure this is a problem with many actors' dating partners/spouses who are not in theatre.
If you have any advice I would really appreciate it, maybe you know an actor with a partner who has gotten over issues with this. Her play opens in two days and I'm kind of freaking out about how I will react. I'm doing alright knowing she is kissing in rehearsals but I don't know what to expect when I actually see it happen. This is the best role she has ever gotten and I need to be supportive.
To begin with, I am naming this anonymous poster, "Pat", because it will be easier to use a name when referencing.
So I will say to Pat that you have the makings of the correct attitide. You do want to be supportive of your girlfriend as she pursues acting. And you do not want to limit her future roles by insisting she not kiss anyone, or by making her uncomfortable with doing so. I have worked with married actresses who insist on kising only their husbands, and scenes have to be rewritten, and it is just akward and time consuming. Fight this urge. She will not appear artistic or professional if she has that albatross around her neck. But you seem already to know this. Go with that feeling.
I also advise you against meeting the scene partner. This is also a very common practice in theatres in which I have worked, but it smacks of insecurity and domination. Don't feel you have the right to meet, talk with, or have dinner with whoever this, or her future scene partners will be just because intimacy will be portrayed in the scene. Your girlfriend has the right to create her art and do her work without the uncomfortable notion of you getting to invade that time and space. And even if she doesn't care, the person playing the partner may. This too is a large temptation. Resist it. It reeks of disrespect and you are better than that, I sense it.
I don't want to get too spiritual with you, Pat, but the idea of "sharing her with someone else" may be part of your issue. Do you love her because of the fact your lips touch hers? Or do you love who she is, what she believes and what she helps you to become? Because if it is the former, you may not ever feel okay with this. But if it is the latter, and I suspect that it is, you already know that nothing about her is being lost to someone else. Not that you own her, but she isn't giving herself away either.
You must remember what she gives to people when she performs, and how it makes her feel when she does so. The art that comes about. I would imagine that is a big part of what she means to you. Don't take the brush away from the painter, Pat. Because even if you say nothing, she will sense how much you don't like her stage kissing. That will make her feel guilty and you don't want that, I know. So the only solution is to change how you feel about this on the inside.
Yes, I imagine it can be somewhat difficult for a non-actor to get a hold on some of these things. But in the end, they are not impossible. In every love, there are things about the other person we may never understand. So take it from me, an actor of 11 years and counting; this is your girlfriend's way of creating and sharing something beautiful with the world. Be no more worried than you would be if she were a lawyer defending a sexy client, or a doctor treating a handome patient. In both cases a person must spend a great deal of time with someone, both are entitled to 100% privacy in their meetings, and both require intimate conversation, and in the case of the doctor, touching. I don't believe you would feel upset by these actions. Don't let the fact that sometimes her lips are involved in her work change that. They are only lips, after all. Acting, however, would appear to be her calling.
This play is coming fast, Pat. You may not be able to make the turn around in what short time you have left. Still consider what I say here. And yes, until you have a stronger hold on what all of this means, try to keep your worries to yourself. Your girlfriend needs you as she enters into the opening of the play. It is a draining, but rewarding process when it works, and it would be tainted a bit if she could sense your concerns. If you think it would help, don't go see the play. (It is not as horrible as it sounds, I know spouses who can't watch for any number of reasons.) Though if you do choose to go, see it as someone you love creating something they love. Not as your girlfriend sharing her lips with someone else in front of an audience.
I wish both you, and her, well with this opening. I hope my words have in some way helped you with your difficulties.