untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play

WoaWomen Urra
4 min readNov 20, 2023

One autumn day in the 90s wonder | wander | women visited the US for the first time and saw Miss Saigon on Broadway. It was a magnificent, stirring romance, but it left us feeling betrayed.

production poster

The white lover saw his Asian marriage as less real than his American one. The Americans were viewed as saviours and Kim’s own people as pimps and murderers. And why did Kim have to die so her son could live a better life? How could his life be better knowing his father and “new” mother didn’t see him as part of their own future together?

on stage

That is one of the questions asked by untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play, a time-warping, trope-skewering riot of a play written by Kimber Lee and directed by Roy Alexander Weise. It first appeared at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for the Manchester International Festival in summer 2023, and migrated to London’s Young Vic Theatre in the autumn.

the cast

Award-winning actress Mei Mac plays Kim, the sweet, romantic lead who falls in love and is betrayed over…and over…and over again, slowly gaining awareness of the cruelties that are happening to her over the decades.

publicity photo

The cast is tiny, but they play several roles with the greatest of energy and charisma. Filipinos Lourdes Faberes and Jeff D’Sangalang were standouts as Kim’s mother and brother/fiance/second love interest (it all makes sense in the play!), and Rochelle Rose was inspiring as the Narrator who occasionally steps into the narrative.

Lourdes Faberes on an Amazon poster

My favourites were lead actor Mei Mac, who recently won an award for her portrayal of little sister Mei at the Barbican’s staging of My Neighbour Totoro, and Lourdes Faberes, who played her mother Rosie. I already loved Lourdes for playing Pollution on our beloved BBC show Good Omens and a powerful CEO in a very dark episode of The Sandman.

spare & intimate modular stage

As Rosie and the grocery store attendant Cio-Cio-san, she flitted between hope and cynicism, bitterness and loving patience. She made a heartbreaking speech on being “guests” in America and being content with the crumbs of representation and acceptance we were thrown by our colonisers.

performance images courtesy of Young Vic

In contrast to the multilayered and complex performance of the actors, the stage was very simple and modular. Half the action took place in a hut wheeled around by stage hands (and sometimes actors) and strewn with various “Asian” props that could suggest East Asian, Polynesian, or Southeast Asian culture to the audience.

an iteration of the Kim & Clark love story

But as the tropes rained down, the comedy peeled away to reveal pain, tragedy, rage, and the resilience of characters who refused the narrative that others tried to write for them. It’s an angry play, but somehow full of tenderness and a love for life and this messy, problematic world we live in as we try to make it better.

Mahala at the play

untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play is a rollercoaster of comedy and tragedy, stunning acting and piercing prose. It’s not just for us angry Asian romantics yearning for Kim to get her happy ending (maybe with a better man!). It’s for everyone who’s felt the sting in the tail of an old story, and wished for better.

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WoaWomen Urra

curious creative tandem — cohearts & collaborators