I had the chance to chat with Odalys Nanin about her upcoming production, Frida: Stroke of Genius. Thank you to her for sharing some of her insights and the connection she has to the topic.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I’m a writer, director, producer, actress and founder of Macha Theatre/Films. This is the only Lesbian Latinx theater company in California and probably the country. I’ve written ten plays so far my most recent one is FRIDA- Stroke of Passion which opens February 2020 at CASA 0101 Theater 2102 East 1st Street LA Ca. 90033. tickets at machatheatre.org show dates: Feb 7,8,9,14,15,16 Friday & Saturday 8pm Sunday 2 pm. MACHA Theater had a home for eleven years at 1107 N Kings Rd in West Hollywood. We produced 100’s of productions and stage readings as well a co produced. Such celebrities as Sophie B Hawkins and Al Pacino produced there as well. Due to Gentrification the space was sold to real estate investors, who doubled our rent and we had to relinquish our home. Presently, we are nomadic but we just received generous support from DCA, CAC and LA County Arts which will allow us to continue our mission.
What inspired Frida: Stroke of Passion?
Since the beginning of my career, I have made it my mission to tell authentic queer female stories for the female gaze with a feminist point of view. What initiated the spark of passion in me to write about Frida Kahlo was because as a lesbian Latinx, I relate to her courage and fearless determination to stand up to injustice and to be the voice of the voiceless through her art and political activities. And above it all, it was the fact that no one had dared to explore the last week of her life.
I wanted to show a part of Frida that no one knows about- her physical, emotional and mental state of mind the week before she died. I explored her pain, fears, and lovers, her fervor for Diego and her paintings. But most of all I revealed the cover up behind her death. Did Frida Kahlo died of “pulmonary embolism” as her death certificate claims? We will never know for certain because no autopsy was allowed and she was quickly cremated.
What do you hope viewers take away from this production?
I would like the audience to experience the spirit of Frida Kahlo on stage her passion for paintings, her suffering and joy and her undying love for Diego!
Where can our readers keep up with you and Frida: Stroke of Passion?
I’ve also appeared on TV in Criminal Minds, Jane the Virgin and Games People Play. You can see my acting reel and video clips of my plays at machatheatre.org, facebook.com/odalysnanin, instagram as Odalys_Nanin, Twitter as Odalys Nanin