Two sisters horribly scarred by radiation burns from the atomic attack on Hiroshima must deal with forgiveness, acceptance and personal redemption in “Calling Aphrodite.” Keiko (Kym Hoy) is a fiercely independent, beautiful girl in love with Western culture. Her sister, Shizuko (Vivian Bang), is a hard-working mule, loyal to the Empire (Bang is probably too pretty for the role).

They bicker over a boy, hard work and Western civilization itself. Keiko has a strange fascination with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. She even has visions of the Olympian.

Then, the bomb drops, literally. The two survive the bomb, but they are both horribly scarred.

It has a profound effect on their personalities as well. The formerly glamorous Keiko is bitter about her lost beauty, and she rejects the Western culture she once admired. Shizuko, always her polar opposite, now embraces Christianity.

The two continue to be combative. Along comes an American doctor, Everett (Barry Lynch), who offers the girls experimental reconstructive surgery.

The characters strut about a Spartan stage under Shashin Desai’s direction. Playwright Velina Hasu Houston crafted a smart story about a terrible tragedy, but the play has a few flaws. Most notably, Aphrodite is a tired plot device. However, Hoy and Bang are skilled performers, and “Calling Aphrodite” is a thoughtful and powerful work that can weather a few flaws. International City Theatre is located at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. For more information, call (562) 436-4610 or visit