Feminist thriller ‘Man of God’ features first all Asian American cast

A priest stands in front of four young women in fighting poses.

Fresno State’s University Theatre will presents its first in-person production of the 2021-22 Mainstage season with “Man of God,” written by Anna Ouyang Moench and directed by Thomas-Whit Ellis. It is the first University Theatre production written by an Asian American playwright for an entirely Asian American cast.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-2 and Oct. 5-9, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3 at the Dennis and Cheryl Woods Theatre on campus. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military and $10 for all students. Children under 5 are not permitted.

“Man of God” is a funny, feminist thriller about that moment when girls realize the male gaze has been watching all along — and decide they’re going to do something about it.

During a mission trip to Thailand, four girls discover that their pastor has hidden a camera in their hotel bathroom. Samantha is personally wounded that the pastor would do this to her. Jen is worried about how this might affect her college applications. Kyung-Hwa thinks everyone needs to have lower expectations for men. And Mimi’s out for blood, as usual. Their collective rage and disillusionment fuel increasingly violent revenge fantasies amidst the sex-tourism scene of Bangkok. The production is a Fresno premiere.

The cast includes Molly Heng, Reese Jade Herron, Madeline Nelson, Isabella O’Keeffe and Andy Souk.

“Growing up, I never saw Asian roles on screen or had the opportunity to play one that wasn’t a stereotype; that was until ‘Man of God’,” O’Keeffe said. “Not only is the playwright an Asian woman, but the play doesn’t solely focus on Asian issues; they are simply teen girls who happen to be Asian. It makes me feel seen, heard, valued and like my story and culture are important — COVID gave me doubts about that. This play makes me proud to be an Asian Latinx woman.”

Until further notice, proof of complete COVID vaccination or a negative result from a COVID test performed within 72 hours of the performance day is required to be admitted. The Department of Theatre and Dance will also require audience members to be fully masked while inside the theatre. Doors open 30 minutes before curtain. Latecomers will not be permitted, and there are no refunds or exchanges. The box office is open from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance, and it accepts cash or check payments only.

Parking is free for shows on Friday through Sunday night. Parking permits are required for Tuesday through Thursday night performances and can be purchased at dispensers in parking lots on campus. For more information, contact the box office at 559.278.7512 or universitytheatre@csufresno.edu.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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