On the Spot: Holly Twyford

September 21, 2011

Ten years ago, four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Holly Twyford starred in the D.C. premiere of “Stop Kiss.” The No Rules Theatre Company production of Diana Son’s play is another first for Twyford — her directorial debut. In short, out-of-order scenes, “Stop Kiss” tells the story of Callie and Sara, whose love affair is interrupted by a violent hate crime that leaves Sara in a coma.

Why did you choose “Stop Kiss” for your first directing credit?
I was doing a show with Rachel Zampelli [who plays Callie]. She loves this play and saw that I had done it. She really wanted to play the part, and she said, “Why don’t you direct it?”

“Stop Kiss” debuted in 1998. Did you update the play at all?
No. The reason this play is timely is that the more things change, the more they stay the same — which is depressing, a little bit. There was the attack on the girls at the 7-Eleven [where five lesbians were assaulted outside the Columbia Heights Metro station in late July]. It’s more powerful that it’s taking place in 1998, because [violence] like this is still going on.

What did you do, if anything, to avoid the show being labeled “just another gay play”?
It doesn’t matter whether you call it a “gay play,” or whether you label the characters or not. It has to do with perception. The LGBT community is obviously going to walk away … identifying with the anti-gay violence. There’s also a beautiful love story between women. And then there’s Callie’s story of the journey she makes to find her own voice, and that’s universal.

What’s next for you?
I’m [acting in] “Time Stands Still” at Studio Theatre in January. It’s a Donald Margulies play about a combat photographer dealing with life after she’s wounded.

No Rules Theatre Company, H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE; through Oct. 2, $25; 336-462-9182.
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Kristen Page-Kirby · September 21, 2011