¡AMIGOS POR Y PARA SIEMPRE!
Un momento en la azarosa vida de la gran
pintora mexicana. Bajo el manto del inmenso amor profesado
para y por su hombre, el muralista Diego Rivera, Frida
enfrenta distintas formas del olvido. Su cuerpo maltrecho
por un accidente, su amor arrollado por la
su inmensa fuerza por vivir, contrastan y dejan el gran testimonio
de su pintura tan íntima como universal, envuelta en la mejor música
by Bob Anthony
Brightest Young Thing,
by Glen Weldon
DC Theatre Scene,
Express contributor Rachel Kaufman
by Barbara Mackay (Special to The Examiner)
by Matt Reville (Staff Writer)
by Patrick Folliar
by Celia Wren
Teatro de la Luna has opened a long awaited new production on the life of Mexican icons, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, in "La Passion". The story of the violent conflict between these two famous painters has been much told but Ricardo Halac in his retelling seems to leave out much of the promised "passion" of the title. When arguments seem to arise, Diego simply walks out and stays elsewhere for a few days with another mistress. Even the revolutionary fervor of the two along with their friend Trotsky seemed to be public relations deals rather than emotional involvement. So this script really leaves the actors with no emotional builds or relaxations. This makes the acting mostly tedious and one level repetitive. Anabel Marcano presents a picture perfect Frida with very convincing bodily pains although she is given little opportuntity to express the emotional pains and strengths that carried her through life in lieu of suicide. She seems to have little understanding of the paranoia that highlighted all of her self portraits. Peter Pereyra who has proven himself as a fine actor in previous shows makes Diego out to be sheepish and somewhat envious of Frida's talent. Anyone who has seen his magnificent murals around Mexico City knows this was an assured artist and an egomanic. Cynthia Urrunaga plays Maria who was a consistent mistress of Diego but was a composite of the many mistresses through the violent (?) years. Young Cynthia Ortiz-Urrunaga did a nice fantasy bit at the end of the show. Mario Marcel gave some excellent stage pictures and one expects he was "chomping on the bit" to put more fire into the action throughout. The technicals for this production were superior especially the Mexican detailing around the two level set. There was excellent audio-visuals and one always felt in the correct time and place. This full house audience was overly enthusiastic at curtain call which is a high recommend that it is an excellent piece of entertainment. (To 3/1) (Reviewed by Bob Anthony)
“All women…always appear at the side of a man,” says actress Anabel Marcano, in her introductory lines as Frida in Ricardo Halac’s play, Frida Kahlo, the Passion @ Teatro de la Luna. With that established, Halac paints a two-toned dramatic portrait of one of Mexico’s most colorful female artists; positioning Frida as a constant and inevitable counterpart to male fixture, Diego Rivera.
Frida Kahlo, the Passion recreates excerpts from the tormented artist’s life. Marcano works within the limitations of a choppy script and resurrects Frida’s sizzling personality as she eloquently captures not only the passion, but also the extreme pain and sadness that colored Frida’s paintings and defined her life. After the powerful final act, Marcano emerged to take her bow still wiping some residual tears from her eyes. Peter Pereyra steps on Rivera’s political soap box and convincingly womanizes and rationalizes the contradictions that marked his love of Frida. In real-life, the incongruities of Diego and Frida, or the “elephant and the dove,” manifested themselves just as much physically as emotionally. Frida’s small, 98-pound frame was a visual mismatch to Rivera’s portly and gargantuan physique. Much to his disadvantage, the young and dashing Pereyra more closely resembles a disheveled Brooklyn hipster onstage than the 300 pound, six-foot tall Diego Rivera.
The show is simple, but visually stunning. The vibrant set, hair, and costume designs are complemented by the Mexican music that is sprinkled throughout the play, adding flavor and texture. Cynthia Urrunaga, who plays the part of Mexican actress and femme-fatal, Maria Felix, struts onstage clad in silk and sporting bling-bling and fur. Meanwhile, Marcano’s jewelry is bulky and handmade, her hair tightly braided and pinned to her head, and her wardrobe composed of the intricately woven indigenous garb that Frida was known to wear.
However, despite the strong cast and direction, the script is often jerky, bipolar, and contrived. Frida and Diego were volatile, but Halac tries to capture and then alter an overly broad and conflicting palate of emotions with only a brief and manic exchange of lines. Though their relationship is illustrated as one of mutual emotional dependence, Halac mostly provides limited snapshots of Frida’s life that portray her at her weakest moments—the times when she was frail, betrayed, and left to either listen to the sound of Diego making love to her sister or paint a portrait and suffer the disparaging banter of her husband’s lover, the implausibly one-dimensional Maria Felix. Frida’s talent and convictions play a minor role to her relationship with Diego and her own infidelities and sexual explorations are merely broached. At one point in the play, it is pointed out that someday Frida will be known as “Frida, the painter,” rather than “Frida, wife of Diego.” However, the Passion does a better job of enforcing the latter.
Frida Kahlo, the Passion
Starring Anabel Marcano, Peter Pereyra, and Cynthia Ortiz-Urrunaga. Written by Ricardo Halac, directed by Mario Marcel and translated by David Bradley. Presented by Teatro de la Luna, Gunston Arts Center, Theater 2, Arlington, VA. In Spanish with English subtitles. Through March 1.
Saw it, loved it. Marcano is a beast, and great on the eyes! It wasn’t supposed to be about her life, but about her passion. So the play was written to do what it did. Set was beautiful and the play was very watchable. Spanish speakers will be thrilled especially.. (subtitled too)
February 15, 2008 at 9:17 am
Pain and Buffering
Martin Moran never cushions his victimhood in therapy;
a Frida Kahlo bio lays it on a bit thick.
That Teatro de la Luna’s production of Frida Kahlo: La Pasión feels more like devout hagiography than historical biography shouldn’t come as any real surprise—that title ain’t exactly subtle. But neither is it particularly accurate: Although there’s plenty of big-P passion to go around (the litany of causes responsible for Kahlo’s physical suffering unto death is dramatized with great care), there’s a profound lack of the lowercase variety. The tone’s all solemn nobility and hushed deference, and the actors, though perfectly fine, carry themselves with a uniformly cool bearing that serves to slow the pace and make the two-hour running time feel even longer.
It’s a remarkably juiceless business in the end, which is puzzling, given the show’s notably strong-willed and tempestuous subject. But director Mario Marcel places equal weight on every scene, and the play’s many dream sequences, which take place in a vague, cluttered area behind an upstage scrim, never cohere.
The evening’s most powerful moment—and to be fair, it works very nicely indeed—occurs in the last act, as slides of Kahlo’s paintings are projected above the artist (Anabel Marcano) as she lies on her deathbed. It’s only then, when the play manages to get out of its own way for a moment, that we manage to catch a real glimpse of the raw and uncompromising energy that Kahlo possessed.
Washington’s Liveliest Theatre Website
Frida Kahlo, The Passion
Reproductions of some of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s most
famous paintings dangle from the ceiling in the lobby of the
Gunston Arts Center. Her self-portraits are memorable-the
unplucked eyebrows that meet in a unibrow over piercing eyes
of frozen fire. Some of these icons remind us of the way
Kahlo depicted herself as an allegorical Madonna or a
fertility goddess of Aztec heritage who gave birth to dead
fetuses that floated from her blood-splotched body like an
unspoken prologue. Were those eyes expressing pain or
masking it? Or simply saying, I am what I am. Now Teatro de
la Luna pays tribute to the liberated woman behind the mask
of the great 20th century surrealist in the U.S.
premiere of Frida Kahlo, The Passion, by
Argentinean playwright Ricardo Halac.
Story With 3 Sides: 'La
AT TEATRO DE LE LA LUNA, the tormented life of
Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo is on display
in an interpretation as beautifully surreal as
"La Pasion" opens with Frida, dying, played by
Anabel Marcano. (She's a convincing Frida both
emotionally and physically; Lorenzo González's hair
and makeup deserves a nod.) We're soon drawn into
Frida's memories of her husband, muralist Diego
Rivera, and actress Maria Felix, who quickly becomes
the center of a love triangle with both artists
competing for her -- and each other's -- attention.
All the important elements of Kahlo's life -- the
bus accident that crippled her, her miscarriages,
her affair with Leon Trotsky and her interest in
communism -- are covered in this production, which
floats through time in a way that's confusing only
for people who have read Kahlo's bio beforehand. The
emotional plotline is consistent if not
chronological, spinning a thread of desperate love
and equally desperate anger.
Rivera, played by Peter Pererya, and Felix,
portrayed by the often scene-stealing Cynthia
Urrunaga, come and go while Frida, trapped by her
broken body, stays put. It's rare that Frida leaves
the stage; if she does, it's only so she can return
to catch Rivera and Felix in a transgression.
For a woman whose paintings were so central to her
life, Frida's art gets little stage time. Two of
Rivera's unfinished murals set the scene, but
Frida's work makes few appearances. Those looking
for insight into the painter's work may leave
disappointed, but "La Pasion" provides an intensely
emotional glimpse into the great painter's personal
La vida de
Frida Kahlo estuvo llena de pasión
Publicado 02/12/2008 - 1:37 a.m. ET
Algunos de los objetos que más resaltan en la obra
"Frida Kahlo, la pasión", que presenta el Teatro de
La Luna, son una mesa con solo dos sillas de junco y
madera que muestran la pequeñez de la familia, un
chinero donde en lugar de platos y tasas abundan las
botellas de tequila, y dos talleres de algún
muralista a cada lado de la sala con trabajos a
También destacan en el centro de la sala una mesa
pequeña para pintar con varios cuadros de rostros de
regular tamaño, incluido uno con rostro de mujer y
cuerpo de cabra atravesado por flechas, un florero
con un ramo de gladiolas y un pomo de barbitúricos
junto a una cama giratoria adornada con tres cojines
bordados de corazones rojos donde destaca la palabra
“amor” y al fondo una malla blanca con algo que
parece una bodega.
Aparentemente todo es normal en esa casa de hace más
de setenta y cinco años de antigüedad hasta que
empiezan a sonar los lamentos de la conocida canción
“La llorona”, que por su título sugiere que algo
camina mal en esa familia.
Y así queda comprobado cuando Frida hace su entrada
a paso lento y empieza a monologar con unos gestos
en su rostro que además de mostrar un dolor físico
también esconden un dolor psíquico.
Y en efecto Frida, que muy bien encarna la actriz
venezolana Anabel Marcano, poco a poco empieza a
desempolvar su pasado —y su presente— donde sale a
flote no solamente que nació con la poliomielitis
que le deformó el cuerpo, sino también un accidente
automovilístico que la mantuvo medio paralítica y en
cama por el resto de su vida envuelta en lamentos de
todo tipo, bebidas embriagantes y calmantes para el
Aparte de eso toda su vida la vivió esa enigmática
pintora con la frustración de no tener un hijo,
soportar la humillación del divorcio y luego casarse
de nuevo, la infidelidad de su esposo el muralista
Diego Rivera, papel impecablemente encarnado por el
paraguayo Peter Pereyra; quien no solamente tiene
sus aventuras amorosas fuera del matrimonio con la
propia hermana de Frida, sino también con la actriz
María Félix, rol que muy bien interpreta la actriz
peruana Cynthia Urrunaga.
Al entrar de lleno a la obra de dos horas de
duración se puede ver que en cada apunte o en cada
línea o forma que quiso dar la artista a sus
lienzos, trazaba su propio perfil pero también
trazaba a sus amigos y sus amores —hombres y mujeres
por igual—, sus abortos y sueños en los que hablaba
a veces con los muertos, su dolor agudo y constante,
que la siguieron hasta la muerte a los 47 años de
edad en 1954.
Todos esos detalles son muy bien encarnados por el
elenco de La Luna: Marcano, Pereyra, Urrunaga y su
hija Cynthia Ortiz-Urrunaga que interpreta el papel
de calavera y quien solamente aparece por unos
instantes al final de la obra.
Cabe destacar que la coreografía se asemeja mucho a
la década de los treinta, cuarenta y cincuenta, que
es cuando sucedió la mayor parte de los trágicos
sucesos en la vida de Frida Kahlo, la mexicana más
conocida en todo el mundo y de quien en el 2000 se
subastó uno de sus cuadros en mas de 5 millones de
Urrunaga y Marcano son las que más se acercan a la
realidad de los personajes, aunque a Frida nunca se
le ve fumar, vicio que lo tenía muy pronunciado,
pero sí muestra su fuerte adicción por el alcohol y
los calmantes para el dolor.
Aunque la presentación de Peter Pereyra en toda la
obra es impecable su parecido con Diego Rivera es
Pereyra es un joven flaco, medio rubio y con aspecto
europeo, que es todo lo contrario de Rivera, de
rasgos indígenas, moreno y panzón. De todas formas
“Frida Kahlo, la pasión” del dramaturgo argentino
Ricardo Halac, que dirige Mario Marcel y Nucky
Walder merece la pena verla. La obra se presenta de
jueves a sábado en el Teatro de La Luna a las 8 p.m.
y el domingo a las 3 p.m.
With great care and
high-mindedness, Teatro de la Luna provides
audiences the opportunity to see Argentinean
playwright Ricardo Halac’s brief biographical play
with its sometimes ardent view of the stormy
marriage between Mexican painter and Marxist Frida
Kahlo and her husband, political fellow traveler and
muralist, Diego Rivera, along with their complex
relationship with glamorous actress Maria Félix.
This is not a melodrama full of fire. Rather, this
is an interior piece centered upon the physical pain
and personal frustrations felt by Kahlo; unable to
have children and often incapable of providing the
physical intimacies her husband craves with the
result that he beds women right under her nose. The
script revolves around Kahlo and how her torments
affect her marriage, her relationships, her world
views and her paintings. As Kahlo, Anable Marcano
grows into her pain and becomes one with Kahlo until
it consumes her. Walking stiffly, dressed in
indigenous peasant clothes, flat shoes, her hair
tightly wound around her head, she displays an inner
beauty and strength when compared to Cynthia
Urrunaga’s sophisticated up-town looks as Félix.
Peter Pereyra's Rivera is a bit too airy and light
in depicting a celebrated muralist with a magnetic
pain-ridden life of the great Mexican painter Frida
Kahlo and her tempestuous marriage to muralist Diego
Rivera are depicted along with their Marxist
politics and complicated relationship with femme
fatale actress Maria Félix.
Marcel has taken what could have been a static
talkfest of a script and turned it into a theatrical
piece worth seeing for those interested in the life
of Kahlo, a painter whose works have been exhibited
in museums in the DC area. In his casting, Marcel
found his Kahlo in Anabel Marcano, with her deep
beauty and strong features. The audience soon feels
that Marcano cares about Kahlo and her life, and
that her portrayal is more than another acting job.
Marcel surrounds Marcano nicely with Cynthia
Urrunaga, with her glowing pale prettiness, and
Pereyra, a handsome man, but certainly not the
elephant that he is called in the script. For those
who know of Kahlo, playwright Halac provides a
concise sense of the era, but somehow the history of
those turbulent times seems cold and lifeless. There
really was revolution in air. Those who know little
of Kahlo or her Marxist beliefs may wonder what all
the fuss is about. The final scene in which Kahlo’s
paintings come to the fore seems late to the
production. Some of Kahlo’s works might have been
used earlier to entice the audience with visual
depictions of what Kahlo was speaking of when she
spoke of her work as a painter.
herself into the role, not with a “chewing the
scenery” approach, but rather by inhabiting the pain
and suffering that Kahlo endured. She can and does
project that pain whenever she speaks in her
deliberate manner; each word having difficulty
leaving her mouth as if each brings pain to her
body. With her costumes and makeup, one can
“believe” it is Kahlo on the stage. The handsome and
athletic Pereyra has the tough chore of providing
some essence to the role of Rivera. Pereyra doesn't
give the audience a sense of the magnetism Rivera
has with women with a deep sense of soul that would
be mesmerizing to women or to those who saw him as a
revolutionary. He has a monologue in each act to get
beyond being a "moon" to Marcano’s "sun" but his
words are too quickly gone from memory. Urrunaga is
one cool woman in a body hugging black dress adorned
with any number of fur coats, stoles and wraps which
she throws about as if they were of little value.
With her lush, almost lacquered black hair, pale
cream skin, dark red lipstick and heels, when she
walks into a scene, she simply collides with
Marcano's peasant appearance.
The technical work
for the production, especially the lighting by Ayun
Fedorcha, is very appealing. With her lighting
choices and the use of a large scrim to divide the
set, there are several attention-grabbing scenes.
The set itself is all a clutter, as it should be,
with painter’s canvases, work spaces and easels. The
overall central focus of the production design is a
bed in the front center of the set. Hair dresser and
make-up artist Lorenzo Gonzalez is to be
congratulated for his work. And whoever located the
fur coats, deserves kudos for some lovely selections,
especially one very rich looking coat with a full
collar that seemed to caress Urrunaga as she slowly
ran her hands over the fur.
Teatro De La Luna offers passionate, poetic
production currently playing at Teatro De La Luna,
“Frida Kahlo, the Passion,” neatly captures the agony
and ecstasy of the great Mexican artist’s life. It
portrays her admiration of the famous painter, her
husband Diego Rivera, and the intense physical agony in
which she lived as a result of a terrible bus accident.
Performed with only three actors, the stage at Teatro De
La Luna becomes a cauldron of steamy emotions – lust,
hatred, jealousy, fear – played out against the backdrop
of political revolution that defined Kahlo’s and
Mario Marcel has done a good job of injecting touches of
symbolism into the production, implying the surrealism
of Kahlo’s paintings. And once the play gets under way,
it is full of enough lyricism to depict Kahlo’s life,
which was richly romantic, and her works, which were
vibrant and poetic.
the beginning of the play, by Argentinean playwright
Ricardo Halac, unfortunately dwells on one issue only –
Frida’s jealousy over her husband’s extramarital affairs
– reducing her to a one-sided character and ignoring her
is a nice distinction between Frida and Diego, who have
rich inner lives, and Maria, Diego’s selfish mistress.
The capable Peter Pereyra plays fallible, philandering
Diego, who needs both women but whose devotion to Frida
is sincere. Cynthia Urrunaga is good as the femme fatale
Maria, whose primary concerns are to toss her glossy
black hair, show off an astonishing number of coats and
play belongs to Anabel Marcano, however, who plays
Frida. Dressed in the long skirts, embroidered blouses
and hair ribbons now associated with the painter,
Marcano brings fire, passion and humor to the role,
while credibly expressing the intense physical and
mental suffering in which Kahlo lived.
is a famous self-portrait of Kahlo with a thorn
necklace. The necklace appears in the play, as a memento
from the uncomfortable planet Kahlo inhabited. “Frida
Kahlo, the Passion,” is a telling reminder of what
magnificent work Kahlo accomplished within that
tortured, uncompromising world.
Teatro's 'Pasión' Delivers, But Mildly
There's nothing quite as impressive as one who is
faced with personal trials and deals with them uncomplainingly.
Oops, we're talking here about Mexican artist and
quasi-revolutionary Frida Kahlo, who wallowed to the point of
revelry in the physical maladies and emotional torment of her
life, and left them upon her death for posterity in more than
150 pieces of artwork that, since the 1980s, have received new
acclaim from collectors and connoisseurs.
Teatro de la Luna's latest effort - “Frida Kahlo,
La Pasión” - revisits the tempestuous side of the artist's life,
in the U.S. premiere of a work by Argentinean playwright Ricardo
Halac. Good performances and good pacing help overcome a script
that is at times more mild than wild.
It chronicles the artist's tempestuous
relationship with her on-again-off-again husband, Diego Rivera,
and their collective connubiations (I think I made that word up,
but it does the trick) with fiery superstar actress Maria Félix.
In life, each of the characters cheated on the
other extensively, although in this show it is Rivera's
infidelities that are the center of attention.
Teatro's effort spices up the task at hand by
casting physically appealing actors in the roles of Kahlo (who
in life was plain and single-browed) and Rivera (whose girth at
times approached a zeppelin-like state).
The work of Teatro veterans Anabel Marcano
(Kahlo) and Peter Pereyra (Rivera) is quite strong. But the real
fun is reserved for Cynthia Urrunaga as Maria the actress. At
turns nasty and sympathetic, her motivations are unclear
throughout - is she a home-wrecker, or simply out to entertain
herself? It's a solid job Urrunaga does.
(The show ends with a visit by Death, played in a
gloriously creepy way by Cynthia Ortiz-Urrunaga, with help from
the costume and lighting departments.)
Regular readers know that, for me, timing is
everything, and, with a run time of just about two hours, this
show made its point and departed the stage. Credit director
Mario Marcel for keeping the action moving . . . and in using
every available inch of space in the relatively tight confines
of Gunston Arts Center Theatre II to do it.
Among the technical kudos, credit Rosita Bécker
and Nucky Walder for costumes, Marcel for the set and Ayun
Fedorcha for the lighting. It all added up to quality.
There was a full house for the opening Saturday
matinee, which is a good thing, but also a reminder that, when
crowded, Gunston II makes you feel like you are in the middle
seat of cattle class in a jetliner headed off to Europe. I did
not have the fortune of having waif-like creatures on either
side of me, either.
The show is presented in Spanish, with English
surtitles projected above the stage. Sometimes Teatro does this,
sometimes it uses live translation; each works equally well.
LA LUNA’S FRIDA KAHLO PLAY
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was never easily classified.
“They thought I was a Surrealist,” she once said, “but I
wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”
And as a woman, the captivatingly eccentric, bisexual
communist who twice married bigger-than-life muralist
Diego Rivera and enjoyed love affairs with Leon Trostky
and assorted females, was equally difficult to
pigeonhole. One thing is for sure however – everything
Kahlo did was marked by an overriding passion.
Arlington’s Teatro de la Luna is now exploring the
artist’s fabled life with Argentine playwright Ricardo
Halac’s “Frida Kahlo, la pasión,” a Spanish language
production with easy-to-read English surtitles and
gorgeous Mexican incidental music. Set in the rooms of
Kahlo’s fanciful home, “la casa azul” (the blue house),
Halac’s work focuses on the painter’s long and
complicated relationship with Rivera and to a lesser
extent the ongoing pain (and later miscarriages)
resulting form injuries suffered in a horrific bus
accident when she was a teen.
Halac’s Kahlo – played with the requisite intensity by
Anabel Marcano – is obsessed with Diego (Peter Pereyra)
and masochistically assumes the role of third wheel in
his affair with another Mexican icon and Kahlo “frenemy,”
film superstar Maria Felix (a low key but charming
Cynthia Urrunaga). Kahlo’s fixation on Diego’s
infidelities is at times a drag, but mercifully these
rants are interrupted by memories of past joys and pains
– gracefully introduced by director Mario Marcel.
As iconic Kahlo, Marcano looks spot on – she has the
heavy, dark brows and wears the embroidered blouse and
formless skirts, the then-uniform of indigenous women.
Her pinned-up braids are laced with pink ribbon and at
times a laurel of flowers graces her head.
With Pereyra’s thatch of wild hair and bohemian stride,
the actor has ably and sensitively created a believable
errant husband and conflicted artist who paints armed
Mexican peasants for American millionaires, but
nonetheless he’s woefully miscast as the big-bellied,
frog-faced Rivera. The essential question of this
story’s love triangle is what do these women see in this
great “pachyderm,” this “toad?” The answer is Rivera’s
Rabelaisian charm, talent and life force – and not
Pereyra’s inescapable good looks.
In an otherwise elegantly staged production, an upstage
scrim awkwardly divides casa azul’s interior from its
courtyard (where Kahlo often imagines Diego and Maria to
be wandering). A revelatory scene late in the play
reveals the irritating sheer curtain’s true purpose:
Just prior to the opening of her last art show in Mexico
City, the invalid Kahlo, lying in a bed she has had
transported to the gallery, spends some time alone with
her paintings. While she touchingly speaks to her works
as if they were her children about to go out into the
world, enormous renditions of the artist’s deeply
personal, fantastical paintings, including the very
recognizable masterpiece “Self Portrait with Monkey
1940” (owned by Madonna), are projected on the scrim.
Rekindling Frida Kahlo, With Little Fuel
Teatro de la Luna's Idling 'Passion'
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, February 14, 2008; Page C05
The volcanic emotional life of Mexican painter Frida
Kahlo erupts with all the urgency of molasses in Teatro
de la Luna's latest offering, "Frida Kahlo: La Pasión"
("Frida Kahlo: The Passion").
The play, by Argentine dramatist Ricardo Halac, lumbers
dutifully back and forth along the arc of Kahlo's
celebrated career, pondering her relationship with her
none-too-faithful husband and fellow artist Diego
Rivera, and recording her staggering tolerance for
physical and psychological pain. It's a nuts-and-bolts
chronicling that might strike American audiences as over-familiar,
given the Kahlo cult of recent decades and pop-culture
artifacts such as Julie Taymor's 2002 biopic, "Frida."
What is worse, director Mario Marcel's production moves
at such a dawdling pace that watching it sometimes feels
like watching paint dry. Heck, you are watching paint
Marcel, also acting as set designer, has transformed the
stage of the Gunston Arts Center's Theatre Two into a
live-in painter's studio, full of canvases, brushes and
paint canisters. A bed covered with a bright red Mexican
textile stands near a cluttered table, and stretched out
on each side wall are unfinished murals, depicting huge
human shapes in Rivera's style. During the course of the
show, an overalls-clad Diego (Peter Pereyra) adds a few
seemingly real brushstrokes to these images.
The murals are not the only signs of the production's
attention to visual detail. Costumers Rosita Becker and
Nucky Walder and hair/makeup stylist Lorenzo Gonzólez
have done a smashing job of giving Anabel Marcano the
look of Kahlo's famous self-portraits. The actress gains
those thick Kahlo eyebrows and lustrous braided-up hair,
and she wears vivid folk-art colors that often recall
specific artworks (a long green skirt mirrors an
identical item in a 1931 Kahlo painting of herself and
Rivera, for instance).
Designer Ayun Fedorcha's lighting primarily evokes the
rich tones of Kahlo's paintings. During flashbacks and
monologues, the illumination becomes harsher and bluer,
and now and then -- adding a dreamlike quality -- it
reveals a mysterious second studio space at the rear,
behind a scrim.
Compared with these burnished stage pictures, the
production's content seems wan. Halac devotes a
significant portion of his focus to Kahlo and Rivera's
relationship with the Mexican film star María Félix (Cynthia
Urrunaga), with whom Rivera had an off-again, on-again
affair. The tense tete-a-tetes between the two women --
who are simultaneously attracted to and repelled by each
other -- can be vaguely interesting, but too often the
situation feels like a generic love triangle.
While Urrunaga swans around in furs as a larger-than-life
diva, Marcano and Pereyra bring a little more subtlety
to their roles. Flashing spirited looks and limping
resolutely (Kahlo, of course, was in a gruesome bus
accident when young), Marcano emphasizes Kahlo's steely
willpower without downplaying her suffering, and
Pereyra's Rivera is aptly charming and full of himself.
But aside from a snazzy coup de theatre at the end, the
scenes unfurl so sluggishly, peppered with so many
pauses, that it is hard to maintain interest. Characters
take their time glaring at each other, and drinking, and
talking about Trotsky (with whom Kahlo reportedly had an
affair), then there's a flashback, followed by more of
André Breton once favorably compared Kahlo's art to "a
ribbon tied around a bomb." If only that trademark
explosiveness had found its way to this production.
Desc.: estudiantes y mayores de 60 años,
Viernes 2/8 (8PM)
Sábado 2/9 (3PM)
“Noche de Luna”
Admisión General $40
Viernes 2/15 (8PM)
Sábado 2/16 (3PM)
Sábado 2/16 (8PM)
Sábado 2/23 (3PM)
Sábado 2/23 (8PM)
Sábado 3/1 (3PM)
Sábado 3/1 (8PM)