The good thing about Philadelphia’s theatre scene is how many options there are for people in the industry to share their stories. Big stages, small stages, new work, old work, local writers/producers/actors/directors have plenty of opportunities to share what they’ve created to eager and appreciative audiences.
The bad thing is, I just can’t get to all of them. After seeing Man of God last night, by Anna Moench and directed by Maura Krause, I wish I had time for every show at every theatre across the Philadelphia region. Man of God, presented by InterAct Theatre Company, only has a few performances left before it closes this weekend. InterAct’s mission, in part, is to develop and produce new plays that explore social, political, and cultural issues that are relevant to the times. Many theatres in Philadelphia also develop plays with a similar mission. Man of God provides a powerful message that we hear about on a regular basis, unfortunately, and not enough is done about the issue at hand.
In Man of God, we meet four teenage girls who are on a mission trip to Thailand with the pastor of their church. The entirety of the one-act play takes place in their hotel room, not far from the red light district of the city. When one of them discovers a camera in their bathroom, the four of them- who don’t always get along or like one another- show off their personal beliefs and values as they band together to figure out what to do and how to approach the obvious culprit.
Though this story covers some pretty serious stuff- pedophilia, harassment, God, rape, murder. But, it’s actually very funny too and the scenes where the individual girls imagine how they would approach their predator are so creative and perfectly executed. There are some heavy tension-filled scenes that will leave you angry and wanting to fight for these characters, but you’ll also find yourself laughing at the clever dialogue. These four women, played by Annie Fang, Kimie Muroya, Claris Park, and Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters are absolutely amazing. They run through every emotion, play off of one another so well, and are truly professionals. I’ll be crossing my fingers for them and this show when it comes time for this year’s Barrymore Award nominations.
Man of God doesn’t end the way you would hope it does, but it does end the way you would sadly expect it to given the world’s messed up view of male dominance and the women who speak out against them. The world is not dominated by men, no matter how much that seems to be the case. Never underestimate a woman- we are all fierce and motivated. If there’s one take away from this show, I hope that it’s the courage to speak up and speak out. Despite the differences of these four females, or any group of females out there in our world, one thing is for certain- we are important and need to be heard. Band together, scream out loud, and let people know we have something to say.
See Man of God now though February 16th. On February 16th, the theatre will also be hosting a pay-what-you-can self defense class AND a parents day out where you can take advantage of on-site child care while you enjoy the show. Visit http://www.interacttheatre.org or http://www.theatrephiladelphia.org (it’s almost the end of Philly Theatre Week too) for more information and tickets.