Deborah Lee Fong IS Post-Pandemic Fabulous
There is no denying 2020 spanning now to 2022 are proving to be some of the toughest years maybe in human history. The devastating impact of Covid-19 and its variants haven’t just caused the illness and death in hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. The presence of the pandemic has shaken up industries, people, generations, and all around altered the everyday, worldly landscape in a manner unlikely to ever be turned back. For veteran performers and actors like a one Deborah Lee Fong, such changes have a silver lining. Ms.
Fong has been a consistent presence in the national, American theater scene for decades. She’s also the star of the PBS programs Footsteps and its sequel, Footsteps 2, in addition to appearing in the film You and Your Decisions. Yet like many performers, particularly those versed in theater, Fong’s receiving widespread appreciation and acclaim has been criminally underrated. Her reaction to this is what many performers have been doing lately. Create one’s own work, both in front of and behind the camera.
Part of the profundity of this approach is you get uncensored, unusual stories. The typical mold of the major motion picture, or even short film, is often fundamentally homogenous, and sticks to a certain, financially-backed formula. The kind of humility and honesty self-produced features display on behalf of their performers is second to none, and arguably has given audiences some of the best independent and avant-garde experiences of all time. Pertinent referential examples include Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66 or The Brown Bunny, or the Sean Baker indie projects Tangerine and The Florida Project. Audiences want to see human and diverse stories. It makes someone of Ms. Fong’s caliber and capacity all the more a pleasure to watch, and all the more a talent to continue to track.
A proud Panamanian-American, Fong draws both on her unique heritage (including being bilingual) as well as her long and storied career to dole out intense, emotional, and on-point performances. She’s fearless, but knows how to have a good time – taking up Salsa dancing and even pole dancing on the side. Her work displays her hunger for good and tasteful stories, sometimes being less about plot and more about the characters’ interactivity themselves. It makes her especially interesting when she’s on stage.
There’s never a sense of hesitation or reluctance to bare all, Fong goes in – and she goes in swinging. When you sit down and watch a show with Deborah Lee Fong in it, you know you will be undergoing a transformative experience. The fact she’s continuing to work, more than ever in spite of the aforementioned challenges facing us all, is a testament to her abilities not only on a professional scale, but on a personal one too.
It will be really interesting to see what she comes up with next as the years go on, and hopefully along with continued work will come a recognition that is long overdue.