- Deborah Chu
- 28 November 2018
A deep dive into the fragmented inner life of a woman
The power of Anna Porubcansky's one-woman exploration into the female psyche does not immediately reveal itself. Rather than culminating in the discovery of a 'real self', Unbecoming's fragmented action highlight the remainder of a 'self' that has been shaped, damaged and built by powerful forces often at odds with one another: the forces of personal desire, loving obligation and the social expectations which are often foisted disproportionately upon women.
Alternating between song, movement and spoken word, Porubcansky inhabits each segment with a deliberate slowness, allowing each action to accrue resonance through time. In this way, even a movement as simple as the slow rise of her arms is allowed to accumulate layers of symbolism, suggesting exposure, surrender and martyrdom all in a single action. Combined with the immersive soundscapes she creates with her own voice on a looping machine, Porubcansky crafts genuinely powerful – and harrowing – moments throughout her performance.
Unbecoming is not, however, immune to cliché: a laundry list of household tasks becomes a confessional of Eat Pray Love-esque desires, like travelling and dancing in the rain. There is also the odd moment of overindulgence, a meandering spoken word dreamscape that quickly loses momentum. Though Unbecoming falls short of being truly revelatory, Porubcansky's performance remains a captivating portrait of a woman caught in the dissonance of contradictory desires.
Reviewed at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh.