Review- Dark Room- KrisP. Production

  6-3-19

By Rhian Widdowson

 

 


 

‘I’ve met many expats while living abroad. Some of them live perfect joyful lives: money, beautiful houses, travelling the world. What a perfect life, one would think. But can we say that this is true for everyone? Through this show, I want to give a voice to those who struggle, who are lost and silenced and let them know they are not alone’ Kristina Pakhomova


I’ll admit, I was dubious to whether I would enjoy a one-woman show about what I (wrongly) assumed would be someone complaining about their privileged life. Instead, I was engaged, my thoughts were provoked and I felt compassion. Kristina Pakhomova’s performance was so raw I assumed that the performance was based on her own experiences. However, it turns out it’s based on real stories of expat women in Singapore that she has interviewed, and an accumulation of all their stories.  


The intimate, non-traditional setting for this show was at The Hive. The small room, set up as a small flat, gave the feeling as if being in the living room of a friend. Kristina Pakhomova, the Artistic director and performer of KrisP. Production said at a q & a, ‘I like experimenting with time and spaces. I like to provoke and stimulate audiences.’


It begins as many shows do, with a voice over giving you details about the show. However, this one is humorous and full of funny anecdotes, conversing in a way as if they know the audience, immediately setting the atmosphere for the performance.


A woman starts singing, beautifully I might add, in Russian. This woman turns out to be Pakhomova’s Mother, who is in town visiting her and also a famous actress in Russia. As she speaks in Russian, there is a rough translation for non-speakers, she speaks about her own struggles of leaving her home town with her husband and how she began to lose herself. This was a true account of her move to Singapore, which made sense as you could feel the trueness of her performance.


Pakhomova enters the stage to a tape playing of how to speak Cantonese as she moves into her new apartment. She begins a rant about how in her culture women shouldn’t work and they should follow the man. She speaks directly at the audience with passion, emotion and most importantly, relatability. She starts to make things feel personal, showing the audience her ‘memories suitcase’, asking the audience to look inside. She tells her story chronologically so you really understand and empathise with her present situation. She talks about her childhood and the difficulties she had with identity and finding her path. She discusses her battles with having a partner who was more successful than her and having to follow his dreams, not her own.


It then moves into her difficulties of moving to Asia, being home alone, becoming a permanent plus one and how as an adult it becomes weird to ask other adults ‘do you want to be my friend’. If you’ve moved away from your home country, this section is so relatable and you feel as if you’re discussing your problems with a friend. When she speaks she sits casually on the sofa, or even brings the sofa closer. She cleans, tidies and drinks whilst talking to you, all adding to the intimate experience.


During the question and answer after the show, Pakhoma comes across as a humble, hard-working, understanding of others, and I’ll repeat myself again, relatable. I feel that Pakhoma will continue to create thought-provoking performances that encourages audiences to question their views and to open their eyes to begin to understand other people more, looking further than the surface.

 

This production has now closed. 

 


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: ---


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