New York Theatre Workshop
New York Theatre Workshop

Kristina Wong

Sweatshop Overlord
August 21, 2021

This event occurred as part of the 21/22 Theater Department season. This is an archived view.

With hilarity and generosity, an artist invites audiences into her work building community during the pandemic and imagining who we want to become.

21/22 Theater Department

By Kristina Wong  
Directed by Chay Yew 

On Day three of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristina Wong began sewing masks out of old bedsheets and bra straps on her Hello Kitty sewing machine. Before long, she was leading the Auntie Sewing Squad, a work-from-home sweatshop of hundreds of volunteers—including children and her own mother—to fix the U.S. public health care system while in quarantine. It was a feminist care utopia forming in the midst of crisis. Or was it a mutual aid doomsday cult? 

As the demand for masks abates and we begin to return safely to space, Kristina is beginning to put her life together post-pandemic cult leadership. With hilarity and boundless generosity, she invites the audience in on her work building community in isolation, while reflecting on what we've been through and imagining what we want to become. 

This performance will be immediately followed by a 20 minute Q&A session with the artists.

Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian, writer and elected representative who has been presented internationally across North America, the UK, Hong Kong and Africa. Her work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The MAP Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, National Performance Network, a COLA Master Artist Fellowship from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as nine Los Angeles Artist-in-Residence awards. Center Theatre Group honored her as the 2019 Sherwood Award. Her rap career in post-conflict Northern Uganda was the subject of The Wong Street Journal which toured the US, Canada and Lagos, Nigeria (presented by the US Consulate). Her long running show Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and is now a concert film. Kristina currently serves as the elected representative of Wilshire Center Koreatown Sub-district 5 Neighborhood Council, the subject of her show Kristina Wong for Public Office. In the pandemic, the national tour of that show pivoted to streaming performances from her home and a professional recording for Center Theater Group's Digital Stage where she is a member of the Creative Collective. As Overlord of the national mutual aid collective Auntie Sewing Squad, Kristina has deepened her practice as a performance artist neck-deep in doing the work of FEMA. Learn more about Kristina >

Chay Yew New York credits include the Public Theater (Mojada, Oedipus el Rey, Durango, Ameriville, Low), Signature Theatre (Cambodian Rock Band), Playwrights Horizons (A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick), New York Theatre Workshop (The Architecture of Loss), Rattlestick (Draw the Circle), Playwrights Realm (My Mañana Comes), Ensemble Studio Theatre (Where Did We Sit on the Bus?), National Asian American Theatre Company (The House of Bernarda Alba) and Ma Yi Theatre Company (Last of the Suns). His regional production credits include Humana Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Berkeley Rep, Long Wharf, Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Theatre, Denver Theater Center, Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Empty Space, Singapore Repertory Theatre, amongst others. His opera credits include the world premieres of Osvaldo Golijov's and David Henry Hwang's Ainadamar (Tanglewood Music Center and Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Rob Zuidam's Rage D'Amors (Tanglewood). An alumnus of New Dramatists, he is a recipient of the OBIE Award for Direction. From 2011 to 2020, he was the artistic director of Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. Learn more about Chay > 

For 40 years, New York Theatre Workshop has incubated the work of visionary artists and brought it to adventurous audiences through productions and educational programs. The long-standing summer residency hosted by the Dartmouth Department of Theater and the Hop has been a platform for workshopping plays from the forefront of the field. 

This summer marks the 30th year of this remarkable partnership as NYTW artists spend this August at Dartmouth. Over those three decades, dozens of works have been workshopped and developed at Dartmouth, including Rent, The Laramie Project, Quills, An Iliad and Hadestown; and participants have included Denis O'Hare, Sharon Washington, Doug Wright, Dael Orlandersmith, Anaïs Mitchell, Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Rachel Chavkin, Jeremy O. Harris, Martyna Majok and Ayad Akhtar.

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