By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
12 years without sex is a long time.
Elizabeth, one of the main characters of “Sex in Seattle” (SIS), has remained abstinent while dealing with her relationship problems through 20 episodes of Sex in Seattle. The long-running play about the relationships and sex lives of four women in their 20s concludes with its grand finale, which runs through May 26.
The episode “Happily Ever After …” ties up loose ends, as SIS co-creator Kathy Hsieh stated that she knew how the story would end from the very beginning.
“But then when I sat down to write this final episode, try as I might, I couldn’t end the story the way I had always planned,” said Hsieh.
The quirky and funny finale is a reminder of what made the series so popular. Its use of multimedia is on-point and hysterical. In addition, singing and dancing play a much bigger role, as an added amusement. Like most finales, it is longer than usual, but the dialogue and scenes are crisp, well-written, and move the story along to its conclusion.
There seems to be more of an emphasis on the reasons why the series came to be — a play about being young, Asian American, and dealing with it. The play and its characters are set in the early 2000s. The flip cell phones and lack of Facebook or Twitter references are telling signs that you are watching a period piece.
The play finishes up where the penultimate episode left us. Who will help pregnant Jenna raise her child? And who is the father? Will Tess settle down with Nathan? Does Elizabeth give up her virginity? Is Shari’s relationship getting serious? Without giving away too much of the ending, someone gets married, a last-ditch effort at love is made, and Elizabeth decides on her relationship status.
Aside from the always steady performance of Hsieh as the 20-something-year-old virgin, SIS had some other notable performances. After a sabbatical leave from the role, Serin Nagai played the “model minority,” Jenna.
She came off as the attractive, girl next door that just happens to be pregnant. Nagai was comfortable and clicked with her castmates in all of her scenes.
Colin, played by Moses Yim, had a solid performance as the loyal wingman of Elizabeth’s beau, Nathan. Colin’s budding friendship with Elizabeth and his longing for former roommate Tess exemplifies the angst of a confused young man that can only confide his feelings at the grave of Bruce Lee.
The play swerves halfway through in the form of a “dream sequence,” which is a little confusing, but it also serves a purpose. After 20 plays and more than 12 years, the ending leaves a simple message with its followers. Like all great evenings, it comes to an end. Episode 20 exudes confidence in itself like a proud student crossing the auditorium stage to receive a diploma at graduation.
While we know SIS will soon be a fond memory, its actors and actresses will move on to other roles in the Seattle theatre community. SIS also serves as a de facto casting agency for Asian American actors, as many theatre companies seek out SIS members for its plays.
“Sex in Seattle” played to a sold-out house on opening night with many followers making sure that they did not miss the girls’ last stand. “Sex in Seattle” plays in Fremont at the West of Lenin building. Parking is tricky, so make a whole night out of it in the neighborhood. (end)
For more information, visit www.sexinseattle.org.
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.