‘One Woman Sex and the City’ is Carrie, Samantha, Miranda AND Charlotte

Kerry Ipema portrays Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte and about 20 other characters in “One Woman Sex and the City” at the Taft Theatre on March 4. CONTRIBUTED

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Kerry Ipema portrays Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte and about 20 other characters in “One Woman Sex and the City” at the Taft Theatre on March 4. CONTRIBUTED

Show affectionately riffs on HBO classic.

T.J. Dawe can’t exactly pinpoint how or when he conceived the idea for a one-woman stage version of the HBO series “Sex and the City,” but he can remember how he started watching it.

“I watched it over the course of a year around 2005,” he said. “It was weird because I was very anti-television at the time. I watched it because the girl I was dating liked it, and I thought it would be a good way to get to know her. Lo and behold, I fell for it. It starts out as a fairy tale for women, full of fabulous, handsome men and all the clothes you could ever want. But then it introduces things like cancer, divorce, infidelity, but without losing those earlier things. I came to see it as mythology, because it explores what it means to be human but in a fantastical context.”

Explained that way, “One Woman Sex and the City” has a lot more in common with two of Dawes’ previous collaborations, “One Man Star Wars” and “One Man Lord of the Rings,” than one would initially imagine. Those shows were performed by Charles Ross, who was a theater student with Dawe at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. Ross would essentially write the material, and Dawe would provide feedback and additional ideas.

The show arrives this weekend at the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati.

“My heroes were always people who created their own material,” Dawe said. “Like the Marx Brothers and Spalding Gray. Charlie and I bonded over our mutual love of ‘Star Wars,’ and I always felt teachers were casting him wrongly. He was always put in dramatic roles but he was one of the funniest people I’d ever met. I figured if we could find the right comedic role for him, we’d make a million dollars.” Dawe laughed and added, “We never made a million dollars. But its 15 years later, and Charlie is still touring the world doing ‘One Man Star Wars.’ ”

Despite the arguably accidental similarities between ‘Sex and the City’ and Darth Vader, Dawe quickly realized that a one-woman “Sex and the City” show would require a different approach.

“Unlike ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Sex and the City’ is already a comedy,” he said. “So we can’t just repeat their jokes.”

“One Woman Sex and the City” is performed by improv actress, Kerry Ipema, whom Dawe met during the “PostSecret: The Show” tour. Dawe would write drafts for each season, then get input from both Ipema and a professional comedy writer they both knew. It recounts the show’s key moments (as determined by Dawe and Ipema) while providing affectionate, sardonic commentary along the way.

“We make fun of the things that are dated and unrealistic,” Dawe said. “Like how a freelance writer with one unsuccessful book has a house in the Hamptons, or how Miranda can work 50-60 hours a week as a lawyer without it interfering with her social schedule.”

Dawe and Ipema also added an interactive element, where, depending on the night, audience members are asked to submit their crazy dates or break-up stories.

“Kerry will read them and riff on them,” Dawe said. “There’s a power in knowing that what she’s reading actually happened to somebody in the room. It just puts everyday experience through the rubric of ‘Sex and the City,’ imagines what kind of conversations (the audience members) would have if they were part of that quartet.”

Four months into the tour, audiences seem to be responding well, except for one thing.

“We don’t mention the movies at all,” Dawe said. “I don’t think there was time. Plus, I didn’t like the first one and never saw the second.”

Contact this contributing writer at aaronepple@gmail.com.


How to go

What: “One Woman Sex and the City”

Where: Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati

When: 10 p.m. Saturday, March 4

Cost: $20-$25

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.tafttheatre.org

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