April 14, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 16

current issue
archive / search

    'Frida: The Last Portrait' at Court Theatre

    Court Theatre will conclude its 1993-94 season with "Frida: The Last Portrait," a multifaceted production combining drama and the visual arts in a living portrait of famed Mexican painter and feminist Frida Kahlo. Preview performances of the production begin Friday, April 15.

    Written and performed by Chicago playwright and actress Donna Blue Lachman, the play recounts Kahlo's life through an intimate conversation between Kahlo and her "house guests" -- in this case, the audience. In a colloquial style revealing her humor and hope, suffering and sacrifice, Kahlo describes her life as a semi-invalid, her tumultuous marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, her adventures around the world and her relationships with the colorful people she knew and met.

    The interplay of Kahlo's passion, pain and artistic expression will be represented by the visual arts in and surrounding the dramatic performance. Images of Kahlo's work will be projected on the stage as the artist shares her stories. Five of Chicago's leading contemporary artists -- Marcos Raya, Marcos Ayala, Marilyn Cortes, Monica Rezman and Keith Richman -- have been commissioned to create works ranging from banners and photographs to paintings and sculpture for display in Court's lobby. Raya, a well-known painter and muralist, also has created a four-paneled, acrylic-and-wood outdoor mural, which will be placed on the roof of the theater for the five-week run of the play. The art exhibition is sponsored by AT&T.

    Pilsen-based artist Donna Blue Lachman first produced "Frida: The Last Portrait" at her Blue Rider Theatre in 1987; Court's presentation is the first professional production of the one-woman show. Acclaimed director Mary Zimmerman makes her Court Theatre debut with "Frida."

    The production will be complemented by Fiesta Mexicana, a benefit for Court Theatre to be held Friday, April 15. The benefit -- featuring local Mexican entertainers, dinner, dancing and the breaking of a traditional Mexican pinata filled with prizes -- will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the grand ballroom of Hotel Nikko. For ticket information, call 702-7005.

    Preview performances of "Frida: The Last Portrait" will continue through Wednesday, April 20. Regular performances will begin Friday, April 22 and continue through Sunday, May 22. Post-show discussions will follow Wednesday and Thursday performances through May 12. For information, see the Calendar or call 753-4472.