Any art lover knows the name Frida Kahlo, renowned Mexican artist with her distinctive and highly personal style of painting. Kahlo is celebrated for her self-portraits, which often reflected her physical and emotional pain from a variety of health issues and the near-fatal bus accident she suffered as a teen.
Kahlo’s art and life continue to be a source of inspiration and fascination for people around the world. This fall, her story is being told by Northwestern’s Imagine U theater for young audiences.
“Frida Libre” is the story of Kahlo in her younger years and the friendship she forms with a young boy named Alex. The pair discovers how true friendship can help you overcome fear and transform your dreams into reality.
Ismael Lara, Jr. ’22, the Chicago-based director of this Imagine U production — also a Northwestern alum — sat down with Northwestern Now to discuss the importance of the play about this iconic figure in Mexican culture.
Why is it important to tell this story?
I think it’s important for parents to bring their children to “Frida Libre” because the show identifies a specific culture, Mexican culture, and it is being celebrated. Often, when we see different cultures on stage, I don’t think we see them in celebration. We often see them struggle. This show really depicts an iconic figure, Frida Kahlo, persevering through her struggle and hardship and celebrating her joy of friendship.
What is your favorite moment in the play?
I think there are many moments that will excite the audience. There are moments of surprise and moments where we pay homage to Kahlo’s work. The moment that is really special, to me, is when we see Frida and Alex’s friendship transform. We see these two young people who started out on almost opposite sides of the world, and we watch them come together in support of one another and the dreams they have.
What message would you like audiences to take away?
I would love for audiences to come and leave with the message that no matter what hardships you might be experiencing, you can persevere. And, instead of allowing those hardships to stop you, you can use them and celebrate them, just as Kahlo did.