25 April 2015
The Four Fridas is a spectacular, outdoor theatre production celebrating the life and work of Frida Kahlo, taking place from 1 – 4 July at 10pm, as the centerpiece to this year’s Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.
The Four Fridas brings together an outstanding creative team led by Greenwich+Docklands International Festival’s Artistic Director, Bradley Hemmings who co-directed the Opening Ceremony to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Designed by Georgia Lowe, with an original script by award winning writer Jay Griffiths, music by BAFTA and Novello Award winner Dan Jones and lighting design by Olivier Award winning Natasha Chivers, the production will include a specially commissioned appearance by Shechter Junior, an exciting apprentice programme from Hofesh Shechter Company, representing the very best of a talented new generation of young dancers.
In recognition of Frida Kahlo’s lifelong empathy with indigenous Mexico, The Four Fridas will feature a unique and powerful pre-Hispanic Mexican cultural tradition. For the first time ever, a group of young indigenous women from the tiny remote village of Xochiapulcho in the Sierra Puebla, will travel to London to enact the extraordinary flight of the Voladores. In this breathtaking ceremony, a 30m wooden pole is central to an ancient, but also very much living, fertility ritual, now recognised and protected by UNESCO in its schedule of “intangible heritage”. At the top of the pole a “caporal” communicates through flute and drum music with the gods above, whilst the four women Voladoras, release themselves and descend in an exquisite and spectacular flight.
Women Voladoras are a rare and very 21st century development of this ancient tradition, and therefore particularly appropriate in celebrating the life and work of one of the world’s most iconoclastic women artists.
The production will also include a specially commissioned collaboration between leading UK aerial dance company Wired Aerial Theatre and BAFTA Award winning film maker Tal Rosner: Frida Kahlo’s paintings will literally take flight, with aerial performances by an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled dancers, integrated with giant video projections on a giant overhead “canvas”.
Award winning artist Rachel Gadsden will explore the continuing legacy of Frida Kahlo as a disabled artist, with a specially created animated film, whilst the production’s Assistant Director, Amit Sharma is Associate Director at Graeae, a theatre company which places disabled artists centre stage.
See also the You Tube video below.