DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE BY ALLEGRA
Written by Gloria Montero
Performed by Allegra Fulton
September 22-27 at the
The Vancouver East Cultural Centre
Gloria Montero gives us historical insights of that magnificent period of
the first half of the 20th century when so many dynamic events were happening:
the two world wars, the Mexican Revolution, the Russian revolution, the "isms"
in the visual and performing arts...
Born in the midst of this colourful period, Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo
y Calderon, a.k.a. Frida K., lives and dies. Her life is symbolic of this
period in our history: "dynamic, theatrical, complex", quoting Director Peter
Frida K. was written expressly for the birthday of Allegra Fulton, Montero's
daughter, and I must say, Ms. Fulton did a tremendous performance on opening
night at the VECC, holding the audience spell-bound for ninety minutes. The
role fit her to the T, and what struck me the most was her exit line which
summarized the Mexican painter's life: "If my life was happy, I would not
have painted at all."
This one-actor play takes place on the eve of Frida's solo exhibition in
Coyoacan, Mexico on April 13, 1953, a year before she dies. As Kahlo dresses
in the traditional Tejuano style and does her make up, adorning her hair
with flowers and her hands and neck with pre-Columbian jewelry, she recounts
her life story: her tragic marriage to the great muralist Diego Rivera; her
affair with Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky; her surrealist friends Marcel
Duchamps, Andre Breton and Salvador Dali; her relationship with Pablo Picasso
("He taught me a few things, and I also taught him some"); her bisexuality
and addiction to morphine and alcohol due to the chronic pain she suffered
for polio and a bus crash accident in her childhood and teen
This play was first staged by Metal Corset Company and Miranda de Pencier
at the 1994 Toronto Fringe Festival, co-directed by Peter Hinton and Naomi
Campbell. The Spanish version was performed with great success at Madrid's
Autumn Festival in 1995 and subsequently at Barcelona's Teatro Artenbrut.
It is currently playing in Barcelona at the Sala Muntaner. It recently had
a successful run in Mexico City, in English! Their next stop? Chicago and
then, The Big Apple!