The News Tribune logo

Friday, September 25, 2009

Episodic Theatre with an Asian-American Twist

Above center: Cast members of SIS Productions popular soap Sex in Seattle Episode # 17 - Coming Clean at Seattle's Richard Hugo House engaged audiences last night in a short post-play discussion led by (far right) co-writer and celebrated local actress Kathy Hsieh. Copyright 2009 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

It's a real treat for myself to be invited to attend a night at the theatre where the community on stage tells a story from a vantage point recognizable to that of your own. No, I didn't write this particular play, Sex in Seattle Episode 17 - Coming Clean nor is the plot a faithful re-enactment from the stages of my life. But I understand quite well what families and neighborhoods the characters are coming from, a population significantly different from those who were called to write, direct, produce and cast the darkened stages of my youth.

The talented duo of Kathy Hsieh and ShawnJ West of SIS Productions now in residence at Seattle's Richard Hugo House have teamed up to present this multi-racial and multi-character tale exploring the issues of womanhood - using humor and drama - while incorporating themes and values particularly shared by contemporary Asian American women.

Back in those when I used to be an impressionable young girl, one rarely saw actors or actresses of Asian-American ancestry on film or television. Rarer still was a storyline from our perspective. The omission of space on the darkened national stages to tell stories from the perspective of Native American, African American , Hispanic American and Asian American communities was commonly missing - a discomforting fact of life which seemed seldom noted or appreciated by the mainstream population even in situations where our stories might even reflect more similarities than differences.

Happily today citizens with roots in the minority communities are increasingly gifted by opportunities to view stories and themes inspired by their own neighborhoods and communities played out under the lights, on film, television and over the Internet. More delightfully, we further empowered to share with mainstream communities what ideals, viewpoints and special gifts our citizens, cultures and communities offer to the world.

While Sex in the City Episode 17 is not attempting to go head to head say, with William Shakespeare or completely overturn all Western European inspired cultural norms, the long-running series has proven to possess an engaging charm of its own. During the some nine years the witty and well-acted soap opera has taken to unfold it has also built a loyal following. As Hsieh and West proclaim in pre-show publicity : "When the unspoken has been spoken, the soul can truly soar!"

Advance reservations are strongly encouraged. For tickets call the company at 206-323-9443 or go online to

Below center: Evening begins last night in the Emerald City. Photo copyright 2009 by Mizu Sugimura.


Kim Thompson said...

This play looks great. I love live theater--it's breathtaking.

Stephanie Frieze said...

I love theater, too, ladies and have Seattle friends who do, too. I will pass on this review!

JosephMcG said...

I am just delighted by the ways stories of the various ehtnic communities are being created and made available to all interested...

any suggestions about Asian American websites that I could look at so that I can continue working at becoming aware of the values and ways of operating of other communities...