It’s been almost twelve years since four Asian American young women talked at a dinner party about not being able to recognize themselves in roles on TV and the stage.
Actor Kathy Hsieh found herself most often cast as “the other woman” or an outsider. The gals decided to do something about it; they would create their own show, with roles they could develop for themselves.
Inspired by TV shows “Sex in the City” and “Friends,” Serin Ngai turned her friends’ character descriptions and story ideas into plays. In 2001, a largely Asian American Seattle audience was introduced to naïve and inexperienced Elizabeth, her best female friends Jenna and Tess, and her high school sweetheart (Jenna’s older brother) Kenneth and his fiancée Shari. Do you feel the friction? This was only the beginning. Bring in Colin and Nathan who both dated Jenna. Dropped by her for Adam, they each woe Tess, while she lusts only for Nathan, who wants babies, which makes Tess gag.
Over the years there’s been a lot of exciting action; a cancelled wedding, an unconsummated marriage, breaking or holding on to traditions, goodbye to Shari, hello to Chloe, Cyrano-like confusion about a proclaimed love online, and the latest: who’s the father of Jenna’s baby?
Now the time has come for the 20th and last installment of “the country’s longest-running theatrical romantic comedy experience.” Expect slapstick hilarious scenes, song and dance, sensual moments and surprise action by the male cast members. Sharing the questions that are on the mind of fans can’t be considered spoilers, but do give away some of the action. Will Jenna have to raise her baby on her own? Will Tess go for Nathan even though she prefers to be a DINKY (double income no kids), or choose Colin? Will Elizabeth find her true love? Will Chloe and George make it to the altar? Will they live happily ever after?
Fans of “Sex in Seattle” may be sad that #20 is the final episode of the series with characters they’ve grown to love and care about. Still, they can look forward to seeing some of the 78 actors who performed in SiS over the years in other productions very soon. This finale is not “The End” for SiS Productions. The company will continue to produce and stage Asian American plays. Kathy Hsieh for one will appear in “(Asian) Short Stories Live for ACT” at Town Hall on June 3 and 4, 2012. Serin Ngai, the original playwright of Sex in Seattle is an Associate Artist with Azeotrope. Check out the company’s upcoming production, “Jesus Hopped the A Train” at ACT Theater in June.