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The Sunglasses Monologue

Streamed through Toronto Fringe Next Stage Theatre Festival


Joe Szekeres

(Attention: there is one plot spoiler here. I don’t want to give away other moments)

A captivating surprise

I had no prior knowledge of artist Vivian Chong’s work.

I waited until this production concluded before I did a quick bit of research on her. It was then that I recognized her name, but I was glad I didn’t have this background information at first.
When I began watching the opening to her ‘Sunglasses Monologues’ where this sprite, pixie looking lady clad in what appeared to be blue jeans and a black dress covered with a large red pullover sweater, blue suede looking shoes, and sporting sunglasses with a gigantic blue star over each eye, joyfully asking us how we were doing, I didn’t think my attention span would last long with this production.

With Chong donning those funky looking sunglasses (as you can see from the photo above), I kept hearing Corey Hart’s ‘I Wear My Sunglasses at Night’ rolling in my head.

And with 60 minutes to have to hear and to wonder where she was going to go since her energy level was already high, would this short play crash and burn?

It didn’t do that at all.

Not in the least.

Vivian shares her journey coming out from a coma, and losing her sight which ultimately led to the reinvention of herself as an artist. I was captivated by her performance as she certainly knew how to tell her story with positive ease in control of the momentum and pacing. When I learned that she was placed in the burn unit in the hospital, my mouth suddenly dropped open, and I was on ever single word she told us and events that led up to it. I did not want to miss a word of this story.

Chong colourfully tells her monologues with class, grace, and dignity. There was no overacting and no hyperbolic emotional outbursts to evoke pity. She simply told the story and allowed me to experience the emotions.

And it’s powerful.

The only slight quibble I did have was in listening to some of her songs while she played the ukulele. It might have been some sound issues, but I couldn’t hear the lyrics to some of the songs and I wanted very much to hear how she captured that moment in her voice.

Give this a look.

THE SUNGLASSES MONOLOGUES presented by Sunglasses Monologue Collective
Actor/Director/Producer/Writer: Vivian Chong
ASL Interpreter: Denica Brown
Stage Manager/Technical Coordinator: Brianna Unger
Production Company: Sassy La V

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