By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
There is nothing like sex in Seattle on a Friday night: especially when you’re watching it live on stage.
Of course I am referring to “Sex in Seattle 16: The Space In-Between,” the 16th installment in playwright Kathy Hsieh’s spin on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” currently playing at the Richard Hugo House on Capitol Hill every Friday and Saturday night through Oct. 18.
Unlike the cable television show, the main characters of “Sex in Seattle” (SIS) are three Asian American women in their 20s living in Seattle. The play builds on the prior episodes and gives the audience a chance to catch up with the lives of Jenna, Tess, Elizabeth and the rest of the cast of reoccurring characters.
“The Space In-Between” refers to the inner feelings of Jenna, Tess and Elizabeth as they cope with their respective love lives. Dream sequences mix and mingle with their reality as each deals with choices they must make with the men in their lives.
Jenna (played by May Nguyen) discovers that she is pregnant. Upon hearing the news, her current white boyfriend, Adam, who believes that he is the father and couldn’t be happier, proposes to her. Unbeknownst to Adam, Jenna is not sure if he is the father or if it is one of her two ex-boyfriends.
Tess (played by Leilani Berinobis) wants to be single but is being pursued romantically by her male roommate Colin and her supposed-to-be-platonic friend Nathan.
Elizabeth (played by Hsieh) is in a broken marriage and, you guessed it, is being sought after by two suitors. But, her estranged husband Harold wants to reconcile.
“SIS” starts off at a frenetic pace as it sets the stage for the play through quick vignettes. Video and voiceovers also assist in conveying the dream sequences and help the audience figure out characters entering into the play for the first time.
You might need a scorecard and a flow chart to figure out the relationships (and attempted relationships) going on, but the scenes are fast-paced and entertaining, filled with quick wit and good comedic timing.
Berinobis savors her character as Tess, a woman comfortable in her sexual prowess and trying her best to stay single. She also is involved in one of the more provocative scenes in the play that will have you laughing out loud.
Tess’s supposed-to-be-platonic friend, Nathan, played by Travis Myers, is exceptional as the white friend that falls for Tess. Myers is also priceless when he discovers some possible life-changing news.
While “SIS” has many positives, the play lacked depth, with the exception of Tess and Nathan. The furious pace of the scenes did not allow the characters to shine. The dream sequences were funny but became a little gratuitous toward the end of the show.
The role of Asian American culture as it related to the love lives of the women was rarely touched upon. Perhaps this was an omission or a reflection of how Asian American women’s relationship issues are similar to those of any young woman.
Overall, Hsieh and Director Shawn J. West have created a likeable concept of an ongoing series of plays based upon the sex lives of young Asian American women. Despite its minor blemishes, it is a delicious live soap opera that leaves you craving for more — definitely a great night out. ♦
“Sex in Seattle” runs through Oct. 18 every Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. More information can be found at www.sexinseattle.org.
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.