Dallas — Candace Bushnell was 35 when she started writing a column for the New York Observer about her dating experiences and those of her friends. The column was entitled Sex and the City. It was assumed that everyone knew The City was (and is) actually New York City. By 1998 Bushnell’s stories were being dramatized by Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO comedy of the same title. Carrie’s friends were Samantha Jones (portrayed by Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon). The ladies were supported by 18-20 recurring characters over the six seasons it was on the air. S.A.T.C. (Sex and the City) won 7 Emmys, 8 Golden Globes and 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Kerry Ipema takes all of these characters (24) in One Woman Sex and the City: A Parody of Love, Friendship and Shoes.
Dallas’ Wyly Theatre was a one-night stop on the 40-city tour of this show that is directed and stage managed by Ipema’s writing partner TJ Dawe, as part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Off-Broadway on Flora series. Ipema plays all four women and all of their boyfriends. The parody is in two acts organized into the six seasons. Each is introduced by Ipema’s dramatization of the opening credits including singing the minor 13th chord at close. To break it up and avoid repetitiveness, Ipema breaks the fourth wall and engages the audience’s participation between season segments.
Before the show, the mostly female audience was asked to jot down their deal-breakers and crazy date stories. One memorable deal-breaker post was “At 61, all I require now is teeth, and a job” while another was “thinks it’s hot to pull down on my breasts.” One of the best crazy date stories was “His wife committed suicide but his in-laws are sure he killed her.” Setups such as these were perfect fuel for Ipema who has a strong background in improv. However, the show itself is scripted and includes references to some of the most notable scenes and segments from the television series. Devotees were happy to see the Post-it reference and naked dress segment.
This is Ipema’s first parody, and it is well-written, clever and funny. She is neither gimmicky nor predictable. Ipema is an actor and those are the skills that sustain her across all of those characters’ gestures, attitudes, and voices. The set is simple with three chairs which Ipema uses for different characters. Her physical work effectively distinguishes the characters. HBO show followers easily recognize Samantha and Charlotte just through Ipema’s physicality. She seems to have the most fun portraying Samantha, perhaps because of the moderate calisthenics she employs for that character.
One Woman: Sex and the City – A Parody of Love, Friendship and Shoes premiered at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in Canada. As Ipema described it to the audience, Sex and the City was a show about female friendships. Ipema and Dawe’s parody of S.A.T.C. is about female friendships years later as the women reminisce over dates long ago. At a time when so much attention seems to be directed toward girlfriends behaving badly, it is nice to see a show that confirms what most women know to be true—men may come and go but true girlfriends will always be there to help you move forward. And to shop for a great pair of shoes.