The idea for four Fridas came from several places. First, we didn’t want CASA BLUE to be anything close to a “one woman show.” Impersonation shows fall short, especially when dealing with such a subject as Frida. But there did seem something magical about 4 Fridas. Frida saw herself in multiples. She painted herself WITH herself, she painted herself while studying every detail of herself, she painted her own portrait with others inside of her. So differing views of Frida and others within those views were guides for us. But how would these 4 be delineated? Maybe Frida at crucial times during her life would be quite a perfect way to address her experience of living: Frida at 18 the year of her terrible streetcar accident that branded her life to come with so much pain. Frida at age 25, the year she married Diego Rivera (her “second accident”). Frida at 33, the year she left Diego and sought a world beyond him. And Frida at 47, the year of her death.
Frida was about 5’ 3”, and 115 pounds. In the world premiere production at American Stage Theatre Company, all of the actresses were within 2” of Frida’s actual height, and all likewise diminutive. All sang, 3 of the 4 were bi-lingual (though only one had grown up in
), and all had an essence of Frida: her spirit, her toughness, her humor, her genius, her fallibilities, her woman-ness.
Careful attention was paid to the progression of the story (arranged roughly chronologically) as it evolves from Frida 18 to 25 to 33 to 47, as if one Frida handing the story off to another, with the other Fridas, having handed the central focus over, playing everyone else in Frida’s life at that time. When they stood alone, the effect was seeing a girl grow up before our eyes, to a young woman, to a wiser woman, to a woman grappling with death. When they stood together, paired en force, as in GOODBYE, their collective power was undeniable.