Did you know that Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana, became a British citizen and lived in Clifton in Bristol from the early 1990s until 2009? No, neither did I (although I did have a vague recollection that she’d lived in Britain for a time).Last night Moira+I went to the Tobacco Factory Brewery Theatre to see David Lane’s play entitled “Stalin’s Daughter”. It tells the story of how Svetlana strived to create a new life for herself in Bristol… away from the haunting legacy of her monstrous father (who died in 1953). In a powerful, thought-provoking, one-woman production, Kirsty Cox gives a very impressive performance… as Lane tries to piece together the life of a woman trying to hide from her past and who left almost no signs of her existence in the UK.
I came away from the theatre feeling somewhat drained (despite the play’s relatively short length of 75 minutes)… mainly due to the intensity of the Cox’s performance, but also as I struggled to come to terms with Svetlana’s complex identity issues and background. There were moments during the performance when I found myself wanting to press the pause button – so I could Google “Svetlana Stalin/Svetlana Alliluyeva” and find out more about her life!
Having now done so(!), I realise that her life (she died in 2011) was indeed incredibly complicated… and included political asylum in 1967; three marriages and three children; living in India and the USA (as well as the UK); flirting with various religions and also believing in mysticism... and that’s not the half of it!
A fascinating and intriguing story and a very powerful piece of drama.