One-woman show to explore depression and suicide through humor and art
Performance artist Kristina Wong’s one-woman show, “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” examines a very serious topic through a comic lens.
The show addresses the questions, “Why are all these Asian-American women killing themselves? And how will Kristina Wong save them all?”
Wong said she doesn’t know the answer to either question, but she puts the onus on herself to figure it out through humor, wit, and heaps of unfinished knitting, all in 70 minutes. She will bring her quest to the auditorium of the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
A panel discussion focusing on the show’s various social themes like mental health, lack of resources, oppressed communities, and using art to heal will follow the performance. The panel will include assistant professor Minjeong Kim and instructor Suchitra Samanta, both from the Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; psychiatrist Bobby Miglani from New River Valley Community Services; Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center psychologist Rita Klein; and Pengwei Sen, a graduate student in electrical engineering in the College of Engineering. Graduate Student Ombudsperson Ennis McCrery will serve as moderator.
Wong’s background and interest in comedy, education, community work, and art for social change shape this play, which Wong stresses is a fictional account of her mission to solve the very real and disproportionately high rate of depression and suicide among Asian-American women. During the performance, the audience is asked to come along with Wong as she weaves in and out of control of her journey, charting her shaky progress, and ultimately finds herself right back where she started.
Wong has toured the country with her show, and has performed at various universities, theaters, and festivals. She was awarded the Creative Capital Award in Theater and a Creation Fund from the National Performance Network in order to produce “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which is her third full-length show. The performance has been praised as a successful blend of social commentary and comic relief by The Associated Press, L.A. City Beat, NY Arts Magazine, the Philadelphia Metro, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She recently shot a concert film version of the show.
Her work has also been featured on the CBS Multicultural Comedy Showcase, a 'best of' compilation for Comedy Central Workspace, and the South Beach Comedy Festival in Miami. Her views on the subject of depression and suicide among Asian-American women have been featured on PBS and in various media in her native California.
Free parking for the Graduate Life Center is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, or the Architecture Annex Lot also on Otey Street. Parking meters within the Squires Lot will need to be paid. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.
The event is sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Endowed Lecture Fund, Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center, Multicultural Programs and Services, Graduate School, Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Center for the Arts, Department of Theatre and Cinema, women’s and gender studies programs, Women’s Center, Student Centers and Activities, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Diversity Committee, and the Asian American Student Union, as well as New River Valley Community Services.
Written by Jennifer Gibson.