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  • "Frida... a Self Portrait" at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis, IN from March 12 to April

"Frida... a Self Portrait" at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis, IN from March 12 to April

20 March 2024

Severo's portrayal of Kahlo is captivating; she appears to be just as comfortable in her own flesh as she is.

The one-woman show written and performed by Vanessa Severo gives a captivating portrayal of Kahlo: she appears just as genuine in Kahlo's skin as she does in her own. 

Three enormous clotheslines are used as a backdrop, a place to store props, and a countdown to Kahlo's death in order to enhance characterization (Katherine Davis is the costume designer and Jackie Penrod is the scenic designer). More clothing are taken out of the lines as people and events come and go, until there are only two dresses remaining, both tied to Severo by red ribbons in a nod to one of Kahlo's most well-known paintings, "The Two Fridas." 

The set is constructed from parts of an enormous four-poster bed. She lived with pain all of her life, both mental and physical. Kahlo spent a lot of time in bed because she had polio at age six, was in a horrific bus accident when she was 19, and had over 30 surgeries. It was there that she began painting her self-portraits, and at her final solo show in 1953, she presided over the audience from a four-poster bed. 

Check out the IRT’s website below for additional materials. Browse the magazine for an interesting interview to Vanessa Severo and articles by director Joanie Schultz, IRT resident dramaturg Richard J Roberts.