The Obraztsov Theater investigated the murder of Frida Kahlo


At the entrance to the park, something incredible happens. No sooner had the spectator presented the ticket than flexible people dressed in black and with black skulls on their heads immediately picked it up under white arms. And some walk around here on stilts. Moreover, the skulls on them are not horror-horror, but painted with soft colors, they look touchingly good-natured. So it’s not scary to surrender to such hands and start dancing or participate in Mexican folk amusements. Such skulls in Mexico are called calaveras, they traditionally decorate both carnivals and the Feast of the Dead. And now they are generally booming – calaveras are in trend.

Until the performance itself begins, you can still look into the tent, where photos of the young Frida Kahlo are neatly arranged in frames. And in the center, on a hill, a toy tram rushes along the rails. Fatal for the life and fate of a world celebrity who was riding towards him in a bus. Such an overture ends with an impressive procession of huge masks carried by calaveras on poles. Spectators follow them, they are seated on sofas opposite the stage (these are expensive seats) and on a raised platform in a circle, where prices are more affordable.

The performance, invented by Obraztsovsky’s artistic director Boris Konstantinov, is already being performed on stage. According to the presentation, it is very conditional and made in the style of a carnival and rituals of hot Latinos. The life of Frida Kahlo from birth to death is indicated by dots without explanations and motivations – only stages, but how expressively presented. For example, the birth of a future world celebrity – as if she was born and raised by her motherland itself, that is, Mexico. At this moment, a huge doll, as if made of gray ancient stone, consisting of a head, breasts and sand pouring from them like milk.

The next point is the accident of the bus in which the young Frida was traveling, clinical death. A lifeless body on outstretched arms and launching the heart with a huge hammer, which, after an hour of action, crossed with the same huge sickle, will designate the theme of the revolution and its main characters.

Scene from the play. Photo: theater press service

But for now, the revived artist has a meeting with Diego Rivera, a painter. Diego and Frida in masks corresponding to their historical appearance. Frida has eyebrows like a black seagull above her eyes. Draw any woman like this, and she is the spitting image of Kahlo. This is probably why Konstantinov Fried has several in his mind. Their multitude emphasizes the hyperpolygamy of her lover, and the fact that every Mexican woman is a fatal Frida in her soul.

I must say that the living plan is combined with inventive puppets by Viktor Antonov. Here are puppets (an ensemble of guitarists in national costumes with a sombrero), plane puppets. Cacti, lush southern vegetation. Watermelons as such and in fragments are generally the main element. They are rolled around the stage, they are played like a ball, they become a plate on which the small figures of Rivera and Frida dance touchingly.

The carnival in honor of Frida is not afraid of cruelty and at times resembles a thriller, but not with the goal of intimidating, although in places it was creepy. But capitos (narrow glasses) with sagrita, covered with small cups of tequila, laid on trays, were delivered in a very timely manner. In the homeland of Frida and Rivera, this is done as follows: you need to close your eyes, touch your lips to the capital, as if you are kissing a dear person. You drink tequila, “snack” sangrita. You get the effect that in the whole world you are alone – only you and your loved one.

Well, Frida’s favorite person, I must say, judging by the biography of both and the performance of the Obraztsov Theater, he is still a fruit and a tormentor. He cheated on his wife, by the way, much younger than him, right and left. She suffered and indulged in all serious. Calaveras in black (wonderful costumes by Natalya Kornilova) to the music of Vladislav Mikhailov, largely stylized as folk and popular Mexican, around Frida arrange their own black carnival. In this sense, the puppet theater also turned out to be plastic.

Scene from the play. Photo: theater press service

So who killed Frida Kahlo? It is clear that Rivera contributed not five, but much more kopecks to this matter. But revolutionary music sounds, red horsemen opened up in the hands of the calavers, marking the appearance at first of one demonic figure for Russia – Leon Trotsky, who in a peculiar way politically enlightened Frida and, as you know, received an ice pick on the head, and then another.

Yes, in the case, the sinister figure of Koba, that is, Joseph Stalin, suddenly stood up to his full height. His shadow also fell on Frida. But the question of whether he was responsible for the death of the Mexican radical artist remained unanswered. The directors preferred intrigue and provocation.

— A Dia de Muertos-style joke. Because Frida is immortal, – only the director Boris Konstantinov answered me.

The carnival about Frida, whose figure is still a decoy for many artists, was clearly a success. For this, you can easily sip a capita with tequila and sangrita.

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