Theater archives

Vengeance Can Wait: A Short-Lived Joy


“Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord, but Hidenori Yamane (Paul H. Juhn) would like to have a crack at it, too. In Yukiko Motoya’s comedy Vengeance Can Wait, Yamane has spent 12 years planning a dastardly comeuppance. His target: Nanase Ogawa (Jennifer Lim), an infuriatingly sweet-natured young woman who caused the car accident that killed Yamane’s parents and mangled his leg. Ogawa believes that she deserves her punishment and even lives with Yamane as his roommate while he plots payback. Every night, just before they fall asleep, Ogawa asks of the revenge: “Do you think you’ll come up with it tomorrow?” “I will come up with it tomorrow,” he assures her.

Motoya, a young Japanese writer influenced by anime and manga, has fashioned an edgy little farce, but director Jose Zayas seems uncertain how to approach the material. Exuberant and slapdash, the two-hour-plus play judders along, evading a coherent rhythm and tone. And Zayas seems discomfited by its lewdness, all but avoiding the s&m connotations of the central relationship. The cast, which also includes Becky Yamamoto and Pun Bandhu as a bickering couple, is uniformly capable. (Juhn, who recently impressed in Six, an evening of Asian-American one-acts, often left the audience nearly breathless with laughter.) Alas, as the play received one of P.S.122’s frustratingly short runs, the opportunity to enjoy these performances or to acquaint yourself with Motoya’s spiky voice was limited. Though the promise of Yamane’s retribution lingers, Vengeance could not.