September 30, 2023

D&I Learn Far more Series Explores Incapacity in the Arts with Kristina Wong | BU These days

An believed one particular in six American adults activities depression—close to 16 million, in accordance to the Facilities for Illness Handle and Avoidance. And people quantities have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There proceeds to be stigma around mental overall health, specialists say, and the American Psychiatric Affiliation experiences that extra than 50 percent of those people who working experience psychological illness really do not obtain support for their diseases, largely due to the fact of problems about being taken care of in a different way or discriminated in opposition to.  

A person of the men and women preventing to do away with the stigma about mental health is functionality artist and comic Kristina Wong, who describes her aesthetic as “subversive, humorous, and endearingly inappropriate.” 

Currently, November 10, Wong will give a digital presentation titled Disability in the Arts about her personal struggles with mental wellbeing as section of BU Variety & Inclusion’s Discover Extra sequence, which this 12 months is taking a deep dive into the subject matter of disability and ableism. Wong will talk about how she uncovered to cope with depression, and the difficulties of remaining an Asian American girl in America and developing up in a household that did not motivate seeking enable for mental wellness. 

“I ordinarily get: ‘Asian women of all ages are frustrated? They seem fine to me,’ like we’re some major monolith,” Wong suggests. “There were being hardly any therapists of color [when I was in college] and there was still minimal study on how communities of coloration practical experience mental overall health or specific their signs or symptoms in different ways than white men and women.”

As aspect of today’s presentation, Wong will carry out an excerpt from her very long-functioning show Wong Flew Around the Cuckoo’s Nest, a nod to the Ken Kesey novel One particular Flew In excess of the Cuckoo’s Nest and the subsequent Oscar-successful movie adaptation. She’ll be joined by David Chard, dean of Wheelock Faculty of Education and learning & Human Growth, for a dialogue on psychological wellbeing, artistry, and intersectionality. Audiences will be capable to question Wong thoughts in the course of a Q&A moderated by Chard.

“What I’m interested in is talking about the stigma around how we look for assist, and why that is,” Wong suggests. “What is that expertise, and why are we so ashamed by it?” 

BU Now spoke to Wong forward of her physical appearance.


With Kristina Wong

BU Currently: You are going to be doing an excerpt from one of your shows. Can you notify us much more about Wong Flew More than the Cuckoo’s Nest?

Kristina Wong: Wong Flew Around the Cuckoo’s Nest is basically a theater exhibit that I performed from 2006 to 2013. I condensed it all into a speech, exactly where I expose my deepest, darkest solution to you all, a solution that could bring down the Wong spouse and children name—I went to see a therapist when I was in school. My exhibit seems at how tough it was to obtain that assistance, at least when I was a student at UCLA. But also, as a Chinese American girl, there is a lot of stigma close to seeing a therapist. It is each enjoyable and amusing and poignant in the perception that it is so absurd how very little we know about therapy and how terrifying it can seem just looking for a therapist for ourselves, but in the long run the tale I share is that the therapist I saw on campus was not valuable to me, so I had to obtain other ways to grow and self-treatment and deal with. This is not to say that therapy doesn’t perform for all people, but I experienced to understand how to regulate and advocate for myself. Considering that composing my own function, I have experienced quite a few much more positive experiences in remedy, but not till immediately after a whole lot of trial and mistake.

BU Currently: Why do you use comedy and effectiveness art to examine advanced topics like race, psychological wellness, and gender?

Kristina Wong: It was only in the last several many years that I added “comedian” to my title. I generally considered myself a dim and brooding functionality artist. I feel a good deal of it was due to the fact Wong Flew About the Cuckoo’s Nest was particularly unpleasant. I was just miserable creating it, so some of me just obviously gravitated toward the humor to just get via the overall performance and make enjoyable of myself and how ridiculous specific situations are. I’m presently in New York City performing an off-Broadway show, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord, about a sewing group that I started out termed the Auntie Sewing Squad, wherever we manufactured masks through the pandemic. It was an unbelievably sad, tragic time of crisis, but the humor was not at the expenditure of folks who died. We did not have to be in a condition where by we were cutting the clothing off our backs and reducing up bed sheets up to make masks. We have the methods in this nation to distribute provides to everybody. We had politicians who turned it into a partisan concern. That’s where I uncover humor.

BU Nowadays: What initially drew you to comedy and efficiency art?

Kristina Wong: When I was in college, I was working with a good deal of trauma that I didn’t know was currently being exacerbated due to the fact I was not having treatment of myself. Then I took this workshop taught by opera director Peter Sellars, termed “Invisible World.” It was not a comedy course, but I beloved it—it was my therapy after a week. You would get a prompt, pair up, then you’d get to maintain your overall performance any place. It was just so significantly enjoyment to observe and make. People stored telling me, “You’re so amusing! Do you do clown work?” even however I was making an attempt to be truly deep. I consider a good deal of it was attempting to just take control of a predicament by placing it out there for all of us to seem at and grieve with each other, and that’s what I’m definitely discovering with my latest exhibit suitable now.

BU Currently: What suggestions do you have for men and women who are battling with their psychological health and fitness?

Kristina Wong: I am not a mental health professional, nor do I ever want to be a single. I’m a purchaser! I will say that you’re not by itself, which I know seems very clichéd. At times, you just have to have a fantastic ally who can assist you simply call and make an appointment. If you never, that is Ok! There had been several periods in my life in which I did not have any individual. But you can uncover someone to wander with you to an appointment, or an individual who can satisfy with you afterwards and go take in a burrito alongside one another or something. I also assume receiving out of the pattern of evaluating on your own to some others is critical. I was lifted my full life to be in this contest with folks, which made me depressing. I imagine that’s why I became a performance artist—there aren’t lots of Chinese American overall performance artists, so at minimum I can excel in this tiny sphere! It is also fantastic to slice out, even quickly, these folks or things that aren’t fantastic to you.

BU Variety & Inclusion Learn Extra Sequence discussion Incapacity in the Arts, showcasing Kristina Wong, is today, November 10, at midday. Register here to attend practically.

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