In the sixth episode of Disruptors, Jean Sergent and Sarita So talk about their solo shows Change Your Own Life and Digging to Cambodia – two very personal takes on surviving grief and trauma. 

“This work is probably my most personal piece of work,” says Sarita. “It explores the Khmer Rouge and the genocide that happened in Cambodia as well as my parent’s experience of it. I was born here and luckily didn’t go through that. I’m always wondering whether that kind of experience and trauma can be passed on.”

Jean’s show started off as “a list of the really weird things that have ever happened to me” but it quickly emerged that the real subject was experiencing the deaths of two loved ones – a close friend and Jean’s sibling died within nine months of each other.

“One thing I think it’s quite easy for people to say about a show with a premise like mine has, of revisiting two traumatic deaths in my life, is to go, “Well, is it art as therapy?” And it’s not. The reason it’s not is the only reason that the art is able to be made and be art and stand alone is because I’ve had therapy,” says Jean. 

Disruptors is a podcast series where creatives in Aotearoa talk about how they disrupt with their art, produced by Basement Theatre.

Listen to more episodes from the series here.