KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD at Kirk Douglas Playhouse, a co-production with East West Players

Kristina Wong. Photo by Javier Vasquez.

Tracey Paleo – BroadwayWorld.

There are defining moments in our lives where we either shrink away in fear or make a stand at all costs. In 2020, at the beginning of a global health crisis, under the order of a shelter-in-place lockdown, Kristina Wong faced such a moment. And in that moment, Kristina Wong became a warrior.

It’s not that she meant to be one. No, not at all, in fact. In her one-woman show, Kristina Wong SWEATSHOP OVERLORD, the artist goes to great lengths to explain, as the crow flies, that single-handedly taking on the COVID-19 pandemic was no more than an offering of service to her fellow humans during a period of personal crisis. A way of reclaiming herself while feeling lost inside a contagion she did not start, and very likely would not survive as a creative talent with a show now canceled because of schools going entirely online, theaters closing, and public spaces barred from operating. Read more…

Socks Whitmore – Stage Raw

Before launching into a beat-by-beat replay of national events, Wong opens the show with a land acknowledgement, jokes about masking, and a complete list of content warnings, all delivered with her characteristic humor and spunk. Her re-enactment of her own life is delivered with hilarious over-dramatization and a plentitude of fourth-wall breaks, the script skillfully navigating between humor and pathos to hold equal space for the absurdity and grief of it all. One might imagine that much of what Wong shares is not dissimilar to the audience’s own pandemic life stories, but knowing the future takes no thrill away from the suspense; perhaps some of the hardest-hitting moments are the video clips pulled from the greatest moments of trauma and political unrest during the pandemic, their force magnified by our collective recognition. Various moments of audience participation enhance the show’s communal energy. (If you’re sitting in the front row, prepare for the potential of being interviewed and/or small objects flying over your head.) Read more…