A podcast by playwrights for playwrights, and everybody else

Podcast 053: Kristina Wong: From Solo Artist to Overlord

Tori and Mabelle talk with powerhouse performance artist turned mutual aid leader, Kristina Wong, about the evolution of her Pulitzer Prize finalist project, “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord.” Other topics include why Kristina ran away from home at 22, the pros of digital theater, finding breathing space as a dramatist, her work as a food bank influencer, and why she ran the Auntie Sewing Squad like a theater collective.

Listen on Apple podcasts (link below) or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Writing Prompt (courtesy of  Kristina Wong)

Organizing a Yard Sale of Images.  Kristina shares this one via David Lynch. Think of 50 visceral images, scenes, or moments and write those down. Kristina writes the a long list of details, crazy things that happened, crazy moments she saw, and she tries to figure out as much as possible, what order they go into and/or how they weave together in a story. Because much of her work is autobiographical, she will revisit tweets and Facebook posts she’s made. There can be a lot of accidental beautiful brevity, humor and comments. She compares it to organizing a yard sale.

Connect with Kristina: 

Kristina’s bio:

Kristina Wong is a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Drama. She’s a performance artist, comedian, writer and elected representative who has been presented internationally across North America, the UK, Hong Kong and Africa. She’s been a guest on late night shows on NBC, Comedy Central and FX. She starred in her own pilot presentation with Lionsgate for truTV. Her commentaries have appeared on American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS, VICE, Jezebel, Playgirl Magazine, Huffington Post and CNN. She’s been awarded artist residencies from MacDowell, San Diego Airport and Ojai Playwrights Festival. She currently is the Artist-in-Residence at ASU Gammage until 2026. 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, nine Los Angeles Artist-in-Residence awards, Center Theatre Group’s Sherwood Award, and the Art Matters Foundation. Her recent “Kristina Wong for Public Office” is simultaneously a real life stint as the elected Sub-district 5 representative of Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council and rally campaign show.  That show was filmed for Center Theater Group’s Digital Stage where she’s also a Creative Collective member. She’s created and directed original theater works with residents of LA’s Skid Row, the Bus Riders Union, undocumented immigrants, and most recently the formerly incarcerated Asian Pacific Islanders members of API Rise.  Kristina founded Auntie Sewing Squad, a national mutual aid network of volunteers that sewed cloth masks for vulnerable communities during the Covid pandemic. Their book “The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care and Racial Justice is published by the University of California Press. Her role in the Auntie Sewing Squad is the subject of her currently touring “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord”— a “New York Times Critics Pick” that premiered off-Broadway at New York Theater Workshop. The show won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for “Outstanding Solo Performance”.

Kristina’s one-woman show “Sweatshop Overload” runs through Oct 16 at LJP: https://lajollaplayhouse.org/show/kristina-wong-sweatshop-overlord/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Extensions&utm_id=P23SWE&gclid=Cj0KCQjwy5maBhDdARIsAMxrkw26CqKyirhjChMJ5KQJzTJlFZBl8sRy-GD0IwbcRLgizQWU5in5XLoaApw3EALw_wcB

Catch Mabelle’s reimaging of “The Secret Garden” at Olympia Family Theater Sept 30-Oct 16: https://olyft.org

You can submit for a Pulitzer!: https://www.pulitzer.org/page/how-enter
Purchase “I Have a Story: Plays From an Extraordinary Year”: https://www.dramaticpublishing.com/i-have-a-story

Sign up for the Steven Dietz workshop via Playwrights’ Centerhttps://pwcenter.org/event/online-workshop-intensive-living-play