True to her campaign slogan, Kristina certainly does it right in this “sort-of” true story about an entertainer who decides to become a politician par excellence. With exquisite tongue-in-cheek, writer/solo performer Kristina Wong quickly launches into the tale of a reality TV comic who discovers that actually running for a public office can be exhilarating – but also very strange. Expertly directed by Diana Wyenn, KRISTINA WONG FOR PUBLIC OFFICE delves into the twisted dynamics of this Chinese-American woman who somehow becomes the duly elected representative of the Wilshire Center Sub district Koreatown Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles in April 2019.
True, this is a volunteer unpaid position – and there are 25 other people on the council – but it’s Kristina’s inroad into the life of a genuine politico. Handily winning her spot in political life with 72 votes, Kristina is ready, willing, and able to make her mark on LA government. A bow and a smile go a long way in this center-city Korean enclave – even if Kristina’s heritage is Chinese. With a wickedly accurate eye on political happenings around the country – and sly, subtle humor – Kristina manages to weave many delightfully clever elements into her story. She revels in her newfound political power, as well as the sobriquet of “feminist monster” and her attack by right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who pinpoints her comedy routine about the Radical Cram School – the place where kids learn how to become revolutionaries.
But it is Kristina’s campaign to “Abolish ICE” which puts her on the map. Since one in seven Asians are undocumented, her plan resonates with her constituency in Koreatown. Even though the Neighborhood Council really doesn’t have the power to challenge a federal agency, it is a symbolic victory which makes her time on the council worthwhile. At least that’s what she tells us as she readies her next election campaign in February 2020 – right alongside the Presidential election.
KRISTINA WONG FOR PUBLIC OFFICE is witty, topical, and timely. It also draws fascinating parallels between show biz and politics in a country currently going to the polls to vote for a reality TV star or a career politician. Kristina is energetic, flashy, and even a bit gaudy (love her WONG sequined cape) as she documents her rise in political influence. She is the perfect unconventional candidate – who somehow ends up being right in line with her politician brethren. Get ready to laugh – but also to think about what politics have become in the past few decades. This is a thought-provoking poke at the world of today.
KRISTINA WONG FOR PUBLIC OFFICE is also a tribute to a powerful solo performer. She makes you laugh in the silence of the Kirk Douglas Theatre – empty of people – no small feat for any actor, and especially one who typically depends on audience feedback to gauge her gaffs. Kristina’s scenes, costumes, and props are overdone – and somehow appropriate to her overall persona. The digital production is effective, with sound design by Mark McClain Wilson and video coordination by Maggie Swing. Presented by the Center Theatre Group in partnership with the Broad Stage, this digital presentation is an entertaining foray into politics and life. Get ready to vote for Kristina Wong.
KRISTINA WONG FOR PUBLIC OFFICE is streaming on demand through November 29, 2020. Tickets are $10. For information and reservations, go online.