Review of Wanted

Reggie Cabico and Hari Kondobolu performing at the Stone Brook University’s Charles B. Wang centre. Reggie, an award winning poet and spoken word performer, and Hari Kondobolu, a hilarious stand-up comedian, performed at the show themed Wanted. He has won numerous poetry awards and has performed on stage with artists such as Patti smith, Jesse Eisenberg, Allen Ginsberg and Stanley Tucci. On the other hand, Hari kondobolu is a brilliant and hilarious comic who has featured in television shows both in the US and UK. Currently, he is working as a writer for FX’s ‘Totally Biased’ with W. Bell produced by Chris Rock.

Poems by Cabico combine activism and political statements that make his audience to either agree or disagree to his poetic gospel truth. As a performing and published poet, he has performed and taught in over 50 learning institutions all over the world. The poems are emotional bringing out the author in a way that the viewers can know him more. However, he brings out his relevant parts of his work in self-explanatory poems that are the same time non-confessional. He uses ‘slang’ or as he puts it ‘non-standard English’ in his poem to break monotony. It is also to bring out social issues in a conventional style.

Reggie Cabico is an energizing performer combining the use stylistic devices such as body language and facial expressions to strike a chord with his audience. The slang the artist uses is to paint a picture for his audience to draw them to his reality. He also presents his ideas and topics in both low and upper case to project his feelings and emotions through his writings and performances. When dealing with burning issues such his ethnic background and sexual identity, he presents them in a confident and defiant manner. This he explains is in order he can connect with the audience.

Hari Kondobolu is a New York based comic, blogger and actor. His jokes hilarious at the same time touch on issues such ethnicity, white privilege, colonialism and imperialistic practices of US government. As he passes on these messages, he has to take care he passes it on in a way to keep his audience captivated. The emotional topics his jokes deal with has made him the recipient of crowd anger. To keep the balance between evoking discomfort and laughter in his audience, he employs a radiant and captivating body language and facial expressions in his performances. To visualize his ideas and experiences to the audience, he uses metaphorical language depending on the situation.

Kondobolu knows how valuable it is to engage the audience. In order to connect with his audience, he needs to converse with those who have attended his presentation. He acknowledges, however, that conversation with the audience has to take a slightly different form from the norm. He is egocentric in delivering messages in jokes while at the same time taking care to draw meaningful feedback from the audience. He assumes characters in his performances to bring out ideas to a certain demographic group successfully.

Reggie while on stage makes intelligent use of words in order to make his poems more appealing. He limits the use of mere words and more of those with a rhyme scheme. His sentences are musical and brief. However, different range of topics dealt in poems gain different acceptability from the audience. To get attention from these audiences, he presents his works in a confident and defiant manner.

The humor in the poem deals with topics such as ethnicity, imperialistic practices, social vices and general trends and topics. They humor is to criticize while at the same time entertaining the audience. For example, some jokes and poems can make fun of an ethnic group practices and norms or criticize a ruling class. Ultimately, the humor is to appreciate different experiences and perspectives of individuals. However, the humor differs between the two performing artists. Firstly, the mode through which they convey the humor is not same. The language employed in poetry and jokes is different. Secondly, the difference between humor and those comics learnt in class is contextual. The experiences and perspectives addressed are different among the comics.

The similarity between Mindy Kaling, Vijai Nathan, Margaret Cho, Reggie Cabico and Hari Kondabolu is that they are performers of Asian descent. However, gender differences among them hinders but also improves them. There are not many women in the field due to its considerations as a male dominated profession. Another reason may be due to lack of support to careers in performing arts by parents. The ethnicity helps the performers to have a diverse experiences and perspectives due to their diverse cultures. However, the ethnicity and sexuality hinders them, for example, audience branding according to their descent or ideas and topics they present in their work.

Bahu-Beti-Biwi is a play using the characters daughter-in-law, daughter and wife.  It is an innovative solo play that in-calculates dance, song and text to deliver the artistic work. It differs with the performance at the show ‘Wanted’ in the stylistic devices the employ. Reggie and Hari do not use song and dance, but just words and text to present their work. The topics and issues in the works are also different. The performances are effective in that they connect with the audience, entertaining and enlightening at the same time.

Reggie started out poetry after graduation from New York University. He grew up at a time when poets of color received appreciation and so up to recognize the fun in poetry. He is gay but says that he has not faced discrimination from the literary community. On the other hand, Hari Kondobolu started comedy while still in college. He says he faces the challenges of branding according to his ethnic background. However, the challenges have energized their performances rather than hinder them.

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