Asian American Press
Los Angeles, Calif. (Nov. 26, 2013) — For fans who recall attending the 2009 performances of “Wong Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” — and for those not fortunate to catch the thoughtful comedy about depression — it is now out on DVD and video on demand platforms nationwide starting November 29, 2013 from Cinema Libre Studio.
Kristina Wong’s one-woman show takes an investigative look at the reported high rates of depression and suicide amongst Asian-American women in a satirical and objective manner. It has had 40 engagements since its premiere in 2006.
A video audience reaches a lot more people that the limited runs of a stage performance. The film audience will be more contemplative on the show that the more interactive live audience, Wong said.
“I think that’s the difference between watching a movie and a live show is during a live show you can come close to the performer and feel their sweat on you,” Wong said. “It (the video) definitely brings the message across, but it’s just a different kind of absorbing.”
Fans who have already attended the live show would see the difference, she said, but the message of the power show comes across — definitely, she adds.
The performance points to an American Psychological Association report that lists suicide as the second leading cause of death among Asian-American women ages 15 to 34. Read the report at www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/asian-american/suicide-fact-sheet.pdf).
Wong’s character takes the role of a crusading journalist who vows to get to the bottom of the issues and save all Asian American women from suicide and depression. After-all, as a perfect Chinese American daughter, Wong said she cannot be depressed which qualifies her to address the problem.
Her “clever and insanely meta-theatrical” approach at playing savior unravels fast as she descends into a myriad of social issues and Asian women stereotypes from family expectations, to the high achieving role model, to submissive wives, to porn stars — a living commentary on the very pressures that are attributed to causing depression in the first place.
Wong sings “We Are The World” to illustrate how people fall victims all while presenting themselves as complete, perfect and still smiling.
The 80-minute unrated documentary is directed by Michael Closson and produced by Cinema Libre Studio, a Los Angeles-based distributor of social-issue documentaries and features by passionate filmmakers.
Closson saw the show and felt the message about depression was so universal that it needed to reach a wider audience through film. It is his feature directorial debut.
The video was filmed at an October 2008 performance before a live audience at Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica, Calif.
“It was an amazing thing to just get to be the artist that day and let Mike do the work — And it wasn’t easy,” Wong said. “It took a year of planning for us to a place of real creative trust, and he really surprised me with how much initiative he took with it. It was very ‘not LA’.”
Wong is accustomed to doing everything from writing and performing, to booking the show, and even pulling in an audience to make her own media. She was disappointed in the past by creative partnerships and tends to trust her own judgment and fears that partners will let her down.
Concerned that the magic she created for the stage performance of “Cuckoo’s Nest” would not transition to the screen, Wong said the good partnership prevailed.
“I was so self conscious; solo performers are notorious control freaks,” Wong said. “The biggest thing was learning to let go and just trust my director Mike Closson to make the live work translate for an audience. “He told me, ‘Your job is to just do the show’.”
The reaction to the film is positive but Wong said her nerves forced her to wait in the lobby during a screening at the 2011 Burbank International Film Festival. She was relieved when the audience asked many great questions during the Q&A that followed and the film won awards at the festival.
The video includes the trailer, “A Tool for Mental Health,” “Confessions of a Yarn Hoarder,” and “Behind the Scenes, The Making of “Touring and Beyond.”
Wong is a nationally presented solo performer, writer, actor, educator, culture jammer, and filmmaker. Her projects often surprise as pranks, subversive Internet installations and sketch comedy. Her Tour De Force performance played over seven years to 50 venues across the country.
As a solo performer, writer and cultural commentator Wong was named “One of the Seven Funniest Eco-Comedians” by Mother Nature Network. Her five solo shows and an ensemble play have toured as far as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, Contact Theater in Manchester, UK, BGWMC in London, the Public Theater, REDCAT, Center Theater Group, La MaMa ETC, the Comedy Central Stage and many other venues.
Closson is already working with Wong on filming her other stage projects, “Going Green the Wong Way”, “Cat Lady”, and a new work in development about global poverty, “The Wong Street Journal”.
Watch trailers for “Cuckoos Nest” at https://vimeo.com/77728297, www.facebook.com/flyingwong, and www.flyingwong.com, www.kristinawong.com, and www.cinemalibrestudio.com.