Theatre Review: MAN OF GOD at Interact Theatre Company

In a sleek, grey hotel room in Bangkok (set by You-Shin Chen), the lights come up on four Korean-American teenage women. They have just discovered a webcam hidden in their toilet. The young women, visiting Bangkok from Southern California on a mission trip with their church, are disturbed, angry, and hungry for revenge. For the next 80 minutes, we see the fall out of this discovery, until they finally come face-to-face with the culprit in a tense finale. Interact’s production of Man of God is a fascinating exploration of power, abuse, and revenge.

Director Maura Krause shows a masterful hand at pacing; some moments fly by, others linger on for what seems like an eternity. This is all to fantastic effect. Standout moments also include some heightened revenge fantasies. Maria Shaplin’s lighting design and Eli Lynn’s fight choreography really add to the heightened and whimsical reality in these moments.

Written by Anna Moench, Man of God is a fantastic new play. Equal parts thrilling, compassionate, tense, and hysterical, the script is full of memorable lines and deliciously complex characters. The entire cast is up to the challenge of this deftly multi-faceted play. The four teens: Jen (Annie Fang), Samantha (Kimie Muroya), Kyung-Hwa (Claris Park), and Mim (Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters) are all memorable and distinct. While these characters seem to fit into neat types at first blush (the smart girl, the dorky girl, the cool girl, the nice girl) they all reveal that there is more to them than meets the eye. They are joined by Justin Jain as the titular man of God. I could rave about each performance and how each surprised me, challenged me, and delighted me. It is easier to say: go see these fine actors at work. I cannot think of a stronger ensemble in recent memory.

Be aware that Man of God is a comedy examining some products of the patriarchy, including eating disorders, sexual harassment, and assault. 

Man of God runs through February 16, 2020, at Interact Theatre Co. at the Drake. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.interacttheatre.org/man-of-god.

 

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