January 18, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

PLAY PREVIEW: A Queer Tribute to Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was born July 6, 1907 and died July 13, 1954. Her death certificate alleges cause of death as “pulmonary embolism” but no autopsy was allowed and she was immediately cremated. 

While many movies, television dramas and stage productions have been made on Kahlo, none zoomed in on the last week of the woman’s life. Her death has been an open-ended and unanswered question mark. In fact many believe that there was a cover up. Until now… 

Back by popular demand and with a grant from LA County Arts, DAC and CAC, “Frida: Stroke of Passion” premieres February 7 in Boyle Heights for six shows.

The play explores Kahlo’s mental, emotional and physical condition during the last week of her life – exposing her love affair with famous Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, Josephine Baker, Trotsky, a Cuban spy and her complex passionate love for Diego.

The Pride L.A. spoke with actress Odalys Nanin about what it was like to portray this iconic artist. Check it out: 

In one sentence, what is “Frida: Stroke of Passion” ?

It’s a revealing look into the last week of Frida Kahlo’s life and the mysterious cover up of who or what killed her 

Can you elaborate more? What first interested you in this play? 

I wanted to show a part of Frida that no one knows about – her physical, emotional and mental state of mind during the week before she died.  I explored her pain, fears, lovers, her fervor for Diego and her paintings. But most of all I revealed the cover up behind her death. 

Can Frida be considered part of the LGBTQ+ community?

Absolutely !Frida was bisexual and my play reveals her long list of famous female lovers such as Chavela Vargas, Maria Felix, Josephine Baker, Tina Modotti and her last Lover Teresa Proenza a Cuban spy.  She had many male lovers such as Leon Trotsky, Jose Bartolli, Nicholas Murray but her female lovers where always pushed under the carpet. 

How does the play explore this? 

By revealing her female lovers and those relationships. 

What was the most challenging part of the play for you? 

The most challenging part was to be true to her pain and suffering.  Specially because I was dealing with the last week of her life.  Her right leg had been amputated from the knee down so she is either in her wheel chair or bed ridden.  She was under a lot of pain killers and alcohol in order to numb her pain. So she was between a daze of sleep and awakening. 

What can guests/attendees expect from the play?

To discover the true spirit of Frida Kahlo who had a passion for painting, living and a passion for loving to the max.  

“Friday – A Stroke of Passion” runs February 7–9 and 14–16 at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays at the Casa 0101 Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets and more information, visit http://bit.ly/SupportMacha2020

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