In her one-woman show, Kristina Wong reminds you why theater, beyond musicals and Broadway, are a New York City staple.


Venue New York Theatre Workshop
Performance Date 11/19/2021
Genre(s) Play, Comedy, Solo Show
Time Length 90 Minutes
Noted Performers
Self Kristina Wong

Overview

With the arts being seen as non-essential during the beginning and height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristina Wong was left with nothing but time and frustration. Time due to being unable to perform and frustration since performing made her feel essential and seen. So, to deal with suddenly having all the time in the world, she started to make mask, take requests, and through that, she became essential and found purpose.

However, as time went on, she sought out more help, made a Facebook group, and became a self-proclaimed Sweatshop Overlord.

But, it wasn’t all altruism and community – there remained so much more than the COVID pandemic. There was Trump still in office, the Black Lives Matter protest, anti-Asian sentiment reaching a fever pitch, and trying to keep a group together, making masks to contribute to society, as some of their lives fell apart.

Thus giving you a one-woman show which juggles recapping a lost year, finding community, experiencing loss, fear, and frustration, yet finding humor to make it to the other side.

Review

Highlights

The Stage Is Her Playground

Usually, a stage is simply a barrier between the audience and the performer, which is static and, at most, may provide the performer a place to sit, maybe to place a drink, and sometimes to remind them what they have to say. In stand-up, this is often true and plays as well. Kristina Wong isn’t that kind of performer. Each part of her stage has a purpose, be it to climb tall, so the people in the back can see they are witnessing a notable moment, or items, which you’d think wouldn’t move, being thrown as she exhibits the hectic nature of making self-imposed deadlines to send out masks.

Stage - Kristina Wong Sweatshop Overlord

Rarely, if ever, do you not feel like we’re peeking into the mind of Kristina Wong. Heck, add in the lighting, the use of a screen, and her making sure, whether you sit in front or off the sides, you feel like you are seated center stage, and it pushes you to realize what we’ve been robbed of for over a year.

The Balance of Humor, Fear, and Opportunity

Fight, flight or hide are the common responses to fear and negative stimuli. With Wong, it seems fighting was her option and seeing opportunity. Now, it isn’t implied that Wong was necessarily the most charitable person before the pandemic. Heck, she even jokes about discovering empathy. Yet, even as she jokes that part of the reason she got into mask making was to feel essential, and how she loved the power that came from being the head of her Facebook group, there is no denying the balance in her talking about all of this.

Easily, you could see this all as a pat on her own back and ego-driven. However, as she talks about the fear which comes from losing income, not wanting to wear a mask for it could make her a target and her diving into the intricacies of running an efficient team who work for free? You realize that, as a performer, it isn’t about just being seen for Wong, and she wasn’t chasing some sense of importance. What she wanted to do, as the best performers do, is give you an experience. In this case, she wanted to give those she organized or help the experience of community and damn if she didn’t accomplish the act.

Breaking The 4th Wall

We’re the type of person who isn’t much for audience participation. I paid you to entertain me, don’t ask me to do any work – I’m off the clock. However, there was no denying that when Wong wasn’t simply talking to us but looking us in our eyes at time, there wasn’t the kind of connection that made things seem intimate. So while we may not have appreciated if she asked us to participate, having her ask audience members to donate something elastic, like a hair tie, her shooting masks into the audience, or having people read what anti-vaccine people would say, it was comical. My stone face may have even audibly laughed at times.

Overall

Our Rating: Positive (See Live)Recommended

We always judge plays and musicals a bit harder than shows and movies because they demand more in price, time, and despite the combination of the first two, they don’t really make much accommodation for comfort. However, some performers make it worth it, and Kristina Wong is one of those people. In our mind, she kind of reminds me of John Leguizamo, in terms of her solo show feeling very much like elaborate stand-up comedy.

Hence the positive rating and recommendation. Kristina Wong: Sweatshop Overlord is definitely a reason to head into New York City and pack yourself into a room with strangers.

Live Performance

Kristina Wong: Sweatshop Overlord - Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
Poster Kristina Wong Sweatshop Overlord

In her one-woman show, Kristina Wong reminds you why theater, beyond musicals and Broadway, are a New York City staple.

Event Type: Event

Event Attendance Mode: OfflineEventAttendanceMode

Event Status: EventScheduled

Performer: Person

Performer Name: Kristina Wong

Performer URL: https://www.kristinawong.com/

Start Date: 2021-11-19 20:00

End Date: 2021-11-19 21:30

Ticket URL: https://www.nytw.org/show/kristina-wong-sweatshop-overlord/

Entry Price: 30.00

Currency: USD

Availability: InStock

Availability Starts: 2021-11-19T20:00:00

Editor's Rating:
86


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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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