Ma-Yi Theatre Company offers a diverting cabaret about the changing nature of the Asian-American lovescape with This End Up (A User's Manual for Lovers of Asians), written and directed by Ralph B. Pena. The evening combines a play on culturally-unexpected love affairs with a pastiche of old-fashioned songs (with new twists), yielding a funny, direct, yet romantic look at the Pan-Asian dating game.
The play celebrates liberation from Asian love stereotypes, sexual fantasies toward occidentals, acceptance of homosexuality among Asian men (who have been traditionally so prejudiced, sexually), and the seemingly outrageous development of a round-eyed fag hag who could fall for an Asian gay man. Ming is a twenty-something gay Asian man (delicate as a Ming vase). He beguiles Dickie, an Iowa boy who is also in love with Jenny, who just happens to be Ming's sister. To this complex dating situation are added Elena, a 40-ish Asian ex-nun who gets hot for men who resemble biblical characters; Jenny, an Ivy League student and cheongsam princess who is sleeping her way through the English faculty; and Bunny, a Soho intellectual who prefers gay men--especially Ming. It's a love pentagon in which the five lives are linked by devotion, lust, and songs.