By George Maguire
Have you ever had all-consuming revenge fantasies for acts of bullying, abuse, or sexual come-ons—whether real or perceived? Actions that hurt or damaged you emotionally, not just then, but into the future? Let’s face it: we all have!
Thoughts of “if only I had done this to the perpetrator” live on with us.
Such feelings of revenge surround four teen-aged Korean-American girls on a Christian New Seoul Church mission trip with their pastor to Thailand, a land of iniquity. As the girls acclimate themselves to their hotel room, one of them discovers a hidden camera tucked away in their bathroom.
…we laugh throughout as their Kpop-infused dialogue…
Who put it there? When the girls discover, to their horror, that it is the property of the church. They assume it was placed there by their pastor to watch them as they perform intimate functions in the expected privacy of their own bathroom.
“Man of God” presents the girls’ conundrum in flights of fancy, a dizzying array of wildly imaginative revenge scenarios from mafia-driven execution to machete kung-fu action to comedy blood-lust to ice bath disembowelment of vital organs. As they free-flight fantasize about their vengeance, we laugh throughout as their Kpop-infused dialogue brilliantly captures the patois of teenage girls while their imaginations fuel decisions they never make.
Boys are excused because it’s in their nature to “act out.” Girls, however are not doormats! “If we continue allowing ourselves this kind of abuse, it is actually on us!”
The girls understand the reality they live in, and they turn on a dime from spouting quick bursts of vital truisms of women in a patriarchal society to discussions of make-up and moisturizers.
Five very gifted Asian American actors embody the girls and the pastor. Each girl is distinctly depicted by playwright Anna Ouyang Moench and expertly guided by director Michelle Talgarow’s spot-on staging on Randy Wong-Westbrooke’s marvel of a set.
Joyce Domanico-Huh, Lauren Andrei Garcia, Alexandra Lee, and Sharon Shao are pure delights, bringing the language of their world alive. Did Pastor, played by Chuck Lacson, place the camera in the bathroom? That is not resolved until the final moments of this 90-minute one-act. To find out, you must see the play, as this reviewer certainly isn’t going to give it away.
|Production||Man of God|
|Written by||Anna Ouyang Moench|
|Directed by||Michelle Talgarow|
|Producing Company||Shotgun Players|
Video On Demand
|> thru October 2, 2022
> October 5-16
|Production Address||1901 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley CA 94705|
|Reviewer Score||Max in each category is 5/5|
|Aisle Seat Review Pick?||Yes!|