Introducing the Cast of KISS: Dana Ghazi as the Interpreter

We are thrilled to welcome Dana Ghazi to the stage as the Interpreter in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss. Ghazi also served as the Cultural Consultant for the production. Kiss opens March 15th, 2019 at CoHo Theatre.

Dana Ghazi was born and raised in Damascus, Syria before moving to the United States in 2002. She studied English Literature and Gender and Sexuality Studies for her undergrads and has a Master of Arts degree in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from Portland State University. Dana has worked with international programs focused on addressing major conflicts like the ones in Syria, Colombia and the Balkans and national programs focused on transforming structural violence, generational trauma and the role of the arts as a way for resistance and recovery during and post-conflict. Currently Dana works as an Arabic mental health counselor at the Intercultural Psychiatric Program with Oregon Health and Science University providing direct mental health services to refugees and victims of torture and war. Earlier this year, she joined the board of the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon.

Q & A with Dana Ghazi:

TR: What excites you about Kiss?

DG: I think what most excites me about Kiss is that it is written by a Chilean writer who is using literature as a way of shedding light on what is happening in Syria. To me, it speaks to the power of literature in transcending all boundaries and to our human connection and solidarity beyond borders.

TR: Kiss draws inspiration from Soap Opera, which some might describe as a “guilty pleasure”. Do you have a “guilty pleasure” genre of theatre, film, television or literature?

DG: I like stand up comedies and I like science fiction genre in literature, which I think at times is under-appreciated for its subversiveness. Lately I have been watching Broad City and it is definitely a “guilty pleasure”.

TR: How do you view the role of theatre in political discourse, or theatre as political action? 

DG: In the Arab world, theatre has been a main form of cultural and political resistance in the post-colonial era. Much of our cultural memory is shaped by the cinema and theatre of the 1940s onward. Theater is not only allowed a collective space to address social and political tensions but also to express pains of political stagnation post-independence era or to celebrate major political wins against colonial powers. Thus, creating a shared national and trans-national identity linking anti-colonial liberation movements around the world.

TR: What do you hope audiences will take away from Kiss?

DG: I hope the audience is able to experience through Kiss the complexity of narrative surrounding conflict and the people who are impacted by it, especially ones happening in The Middle East where for so long generic narratives have masked such complexities. In one of the lines Calderón writes that romantic love is how Syrians connect with their past, identities and longing for country. For the play to take place in Damascus, one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the world, is to tell about this human energy of love and pain and longing, a tale of timeless perseverance and rich history. 

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Introducing the Cast of KISS: Rolland Walsh as Ahmed/Martin

Rolland Walsh returns to the Third Rail stage as Ahmed/Martin in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss. The show opens March 15th, 2019 at CoHo Theatre.

With Third Rail Repertory Theater: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again, Mr. Kolpert, Static, The Night Alive, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Noises Off, A Noble Failure. Also in Portland: Rolland has acted with CoHo Productions, Portland Center Stage, Artist’s Repertory Theater, Portland Playhouse and others; in Boston: American Repertory Theater, Club OBERON; produced: The Year of the Rooster, Weekend at Bernie’s: Live on Stage, Thom Pain (based on nothing) and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. Rolland received his MFA in Acting from The American Repertory Theater / Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

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Introducing the Cast of Kiss: Myriam Hamieh as Woman/Ameera’s Sister

Myriam Hamieh makes her Third Rail debut as Woman/Ameera’s Sister in Kiss by Guillermo Calderón. The play opens March 15th, 2019 at the CoHo Theatre.

Myriam is originally from Beirut, Lebanon and has been living in Portland since 2006. She is currently a full time dental student at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry. She enjoys painting and reading literary fiction as well as spending time with her family and of course her dog Ozzy.

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Introducing the Cast of KISS: Cristi Miles as Hadeel/Andrea

Guest Artist Cristi Miles will play Hadeel/Andrea in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss, opening March 15th, 2019.

Cristi Miles is a native of El Paso, Texas and is a theatre artist rooted in Portland, OR. She spends her creative time making art with PETE ( and other wonderful companies throughout the Northwest. Cristi is interested in art that pushes beyond its current definitions, seeks collaborations with unlikely sources and asks questions of its audience. She believes that the world’s artists are the world’s truth seekers, sayers, and mirrors. Cristi is an Assistant Professor of the Theatre at George Fox University and trained at The Oregon Center for Alexander Technique (AmSAT certified teacher). Brandeis University, MFA.

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Introducing the Cast of Kiss: Maureen Porter as Bana/Laura

Maureen Porter will play Bana/Laura in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss, opening March 15th, 2019.

Maureen is a Core Company Member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre, where roles include Ensemble in Revolt. She said. Revolt again., Claire in The Events, Aphra Behn in Or,  Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Belinda in Noises Off,  Marian in Sweet & Sad and That Hopey Changey Thing, Lisa in The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Pam in The Gray Sisters, Eleanor in Dead Funny, and Mom in Number Three. Other local credits include Erica in Bright Half Life with Profile Theatre; Dark Ahab in Or, The Whale with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew at Portland Shakespeare Project, Elise in Crooked at CoHo Theatre, Estelle in No Exit and Emma in Betrayal at Imago Theatre. New York credits include Isabella the Pirate Queen in Wet at the SPF New Works Festival, Lady Sneerwell in School for Scandal, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Laura Lucretia in the The Feign’d Courtesans with The Queen’s Company, and Celia in As You Like It with the National Shakespeare Company.

Q&A with Maureen Porter:

TR: What excites you about Kiss? 

MP: I love a night at the theatre when I don’t see what’s coming and Kiss has that quality. It is funny and surprising as well as substantive  I love when I am in an audience and something happens that makes my heart beat faster, and my brain engage to figure it out, and my breath quicken. I like when a play stays ahead of me. Kiss is that kind of play. It is very exciting to be inside the work. 

TR: Kiss draws inspiration from Soap Opera, which some might describe as a “guilty pleasure”. Do you have a “guilty pleasure” genre of theatre, film, television or literature?

MP:   I don’t know about guilty pleasures. I can’t help myself, I do love 80s teenage angst, Brat Pack, romcoms when the mood hits me. Oh, I guess that I do also love really cheesy love songs from time to time. I mean, not always. But let’s be honest. Sometimes it feels really good to sing Against All Odds or Endless Love or Total Eclipse of the Heart really loud at the top of your lungs. Whitesnake? Hall and Oates? Anyone? You won’t publish this, right? 

TR: How do you view the role of theatre in political discourse, or theatre as political action?

MP:  I believe that theatre is many things, to many people. It is not monolithic. Fundamentally it is – as a concentrated expression of our culture, our times, our history – a way to enact and engage in a kind of civil discourse and communal experience. In that way it might always be political to some degree. It can help us to work toward the best aspirations of our democratic ideals. But I don’t think that is it’s only role. The lens can be political, sociological, psychological, satirical, humanistic…the list goes on. It must defy rigid and inflexible categorization and be responsive and in dialogue with the world in which it is made.  As Julian Beck of the Living Theatre said, “You must enter the theatre through the world.” 

TR: What do you hope audiences will take away from Kiss

MP:  I hope audiences will be moved in a way that is full and rich. That they will laugh and wonder and learn along with us. That an imprint of this story, and our shared experience of it, will last with them in a way that might even transform us all. I want them to take away things to think about and talk about and relish and enjoy. Things to ponder. I would love them to relive some of the moments in their memories days after they see the performance.I hope they will consider new perspectives. 

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