The short and tragic life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo has been reproduced around the world in various forms. In celebration of her 100th year, Teatro Sinergia in conjunction with the Frida Kahlo Theater in Los Angeles presents “Frida Kahlo,” a play about the painter’s life of solitude, physical anguish and her passion for painting that brought it all together.
The play is written and directed by Rub’eacute;n Amavizca Mur’uacute;a, an author and director that has worked on more than 100 theatrical productions and done over 4,000 performances.
“Frida Kahlo” recaps the painter’s 47 years of life. It starts off with Frida’s death, and works its way back to her childhood. The character Frida talks to the audience about her struggle from an early age with health problems. First, as a child when she contracted Polio, and then how she survived a trolley accident that drove a metal pole through her body leaving her disabled in a wheelchair for life.
Frida’s solitude and frustration drove her to express her pain in art, as a form of therapy, and it was through this expression that she met and fell in love with world renowned muralist Diego Rivera.
The character Diego is a vital part of the play as he contributes to Frida’s suffering with his insatiable appetite for affairs and flings with women (including Frida’s own sister Christina who is also a character in the play).
The different phases of her life are not merely presented to the audience by the character Frida, but also through the character Judas who adds comical commentary to the presentation by teasing Frida’s narration. This brings out other aspects of her life, exposing her inner demons, and questioning the Frida’s grasp of what she sees as her reality.
The Frida Kahlo Theater is the perfect place for the presentation, it is part art gallery and part theater. It is especially distinct in that the stage is directly in the center of the audience allowing for a more intimate experience.
Mariachi music played during the presentation helps set the mood of small town Mexico in the early 1900s.
Though the majority of the play takes place in Frida’s bedroom, the boldness of the colors on the stage, the props and the use of lighting are effective in evoking sympathy for the character.
Audience members get a real sense her frustrations and solitude. The play colorfully shows how someone so miserable could be so determined, successful and unrelenting.
The actors are a perfect match for the characters, specifically Frida and Diego who both share an uncanny resemblance to their real-life counterparts. Their ability to bring to life such a bittersweet story in a magnificent and entertaining manner makes this play a must see for all Frida lovers and art appreciators alike.
The play will be showing through Dec. 16, with special performances in Spanish on specific days.