Artist of The Month- August- Kristina Pakhomova

Our Artist of the Month is Russian-born multi-talented artist Kristina Pakhomova. Despite being fairly new in Hong Kong and very young, Kristina has an enviable theatre background, as she has, among other projects,  already written and starred in four pieces that she created by herself. Kristina will be onstage for the first time in Hong Kong in September with double bill What's Wrong With Me?/ Dark Room at The Hive in Kennedy Town. 




Name, Birthplace, age: 

Kristina Pakhomova, 27 y.o, Russia, Khabarovsk city.


How does where you were raised affect your work?


I was raised in a small city, called Khabarovsk in Far East of Russia. Just to give you an idea, It is about 35 km from the Chinese border. It is a very beautiful place but quite small, so not so many things were going on there when I was growing up. However, like in any other city in Russia, there were many state theatres including drama, youth and music theatre so from a very young age I was already exposed to lots of art and theatre. It also helped that my mother was an actress too. I was literally raised on stage among directors, dancers, costume and light designers and actors. It was a fun and a significant time of my life that determined my future as an actress. At the age of 5, I already knew that I wanted to be an actor. 


Where did you train?


When I was 17, I left Khabarovsk for another city, called Vladivostok to study Acting at The Far East Academy of Arts where I got my traditional training in Stanislavsky technique. And on my second year of university, I decided it was time for me to take my acting career internationally. I left for Singapore to pursue my acting degree at Lassalle, College of The Arts. It was a unique experience for me because I didn’t speak English at the time and I was all by myself with no friends and family. But luckily, everything worked out well for me. I got into the university without any issues. There I got my training, not only in classical Stanislavsky and Chekhov acting techniques but also in traditional Asian theatre. I had the chance to explore forms of performing such as Chinese Opera, Japanese Noh theatre, Indian Kathakali and Wayang Wong. We also worked on classical ballet, tap and jazz dance training, voice training, acting on screen. Furthermore, we were required to learn set design and composition among many other interesting subjects. I enjoyed this form of training as it made me a versatile actor, and I am very thankful for that. 


What is your favourite style of theatre? Why?


Theatre nowadays is very hybrid. I see artists experimenting with styles and techniques more and more, as they create new real experiences for the audience and expand the boundaries of psychological theatre. 

Technology is often used on stage, together with mixing performing elements: dancing, site-specific work, devised theatre, dining theatre, installation. I’ve seen a performance without actors even, and I was fascinated by it. Theatre doesn’t have to happen on stage anymore. It can happen on the streets, museums, factories, living room or photo studio.

That’s the wonderful thing about theatre; it’s very mobile. Therefore, it’s hard for me to pick one favourite style. I’m quite inspired by interactive theatre though. I like the audience to be a part of my performances, participating in and sometimes even affecting the dynamics of the show. I am still learning. This month, for example, I attended two summer theatre schools in Russia and Italy, and I discovered new forms of theatre. One of them was particularly interesting to me. It was founded by Anatoly Vasiliev. His unique theatre model focuses on the point of view of the artist. His theatre becomes a scientific laboratory which gives the opportunity to make the research and experiment. The actor becomes more important than text or character. Theatre constantly changes because the world is changing and that’s how it should be, I believe. 



What was the best show you EVER saw?

A recent performance that blew my mind was a one-person show called “Hamlet Collage” by William Shakespeare, produced by Robert Lepage and performed by one of my favourite Russian actors Evgeny Mironov who played all parts in the performance. ALL!!!!!! Can you imagine? And he was doing that while continually moving around the specially programmed composite cube. He merged with a complex set as it were part of him. I have never seen something like this in my life. 


What was the best show in HK you EVER saw?


I moved to Hong Kong just six months ago, so I am still a newbie to an art scene here. I didn’t have a chance to see many theatres shows just yet, but I was fortunate to catch “Shukshin’s Stories”, a play by a very famous Russian theatre company “Theatre of Nation” at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. It was amazing. I also enjoyed “Closer” by Sweet and Sour Productions. 


What piece of work are you the proudest?
I think it still yet to come (laughs). I don’t know; I like the work I produce. Each story I create is personal and special to me to some extent. I make it with lots of love and care, I invest a lot of my time, energy, effort and money in it and I do think it is important to make your own work as an actor. I guess I feel proud of the fact that I am just able to create my own work and show it to others, even though it’s not perfect and maybe it will never be. 


What is your process like?


I usually create original plays. I have produced four original theatre plays so far: “Dark Room”, a story about an expat wife, “What’s Wrong With Me?”  solo- show about a woman with Asperger’s syndrome, “Scrub” a play about racial issues and “Lady Death” a play about Soviet Union female sniper, a Second World War hero (to be performed next year). My process always involves lots of pre-production research (interviews, reading, watching documentaries etc.) followed by the writing and then rehearsals. With my first play, Dark Room, I did everything by myself:  I wrote it, I acted in it, I produced it and directed it. Directing myself was the hardest part because I couldn’t watch myself from the outside so that I couldn’t give any feedback. I made video recordings of the rehearsals, but still, it was hard. I promised I would never do it again. ☺

The idea for my second play “What’s Wrong With Me?” was inspired by a book I’ve read. I knew nothing about Asperger’s syndrome, so I began to read a lot about it, watched lots of documentaries and interviewed people who had any experience related to the topic. Learning from my previous experience, I decided that I needed help. So, I found a very talented writer, Anita Gupta, who helped me with the script and also co-directed the play with me. Finding your “tribe” is the hardest. I love collaborating with people. Community’s support is critical in arts and especially to independent theatre-makers who don’t have big budgets. I have been pretty lucky meeting people who are willing to help, affordable venues that are willing to collaborate, and artists who are interested in joining the process. 



What is your dream project?


I am excited about my next project, a play I wrote, “Lady Death”. I spent almost a year writing it, working closely with an amazing friend of mine and talented dramaturge Sarah Howell. This story is about Russia, it’s about my culture, it’s people and my history and of course, like in any of my stories it’s about a strong woman. All the elements I care about. It’s a very personal project for me, and I hope to stage it next year. 


What do you think about the arts and theatre scene in Hong Kong?


From what I saw It seems very international, vibrant and active, but I wish it had more affordable performing venues.


Check out Kristina's performance What's Wrong With Me?/ Dark Room at The Hive in Kennedy Town on September 7-9. For more information click here



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