Photographs and Pineapple Lumps

22 JunEvents / Exhibitions

Frida - Kali, Hilda and Lyndee-Jane
Kali Kopae, Hilda Trujillo and Lyndee-Jane Rutherford at Te Manawa

Wellington-based actor and director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford came to the opening of Frida Kahlo – Her Photos in March. Now, with her show La Casa Azul opening at Circa Theatre this weekend, she writes about meeting Hilda Trujillo of the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico.

When you direct a show you completely delve into the world it creates. This becomes all the more important when it’s the world of a real person such as Frida Kahlo.

In March, Kali Kopae and I fought the Friday afternoon SH1 northbound traffic to Palmerston North to attend the opening of the Frida Kahlo – Her Photos exhibition at Te Manawa. Kali is playing Frida in our production, so she was curious to see Frida’s photos as much as I was. It’s well worth the trip up to Palmerston North.

There were people at the event that I wanted to talk to about our upcoming play about Frida Kahlo – perhaps most importantly Hilda Trujillo, the Museum Director of La Casa Azul – yes the La Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo Museum) in Mexico.

In the queue for the wine (there’s always wine at opening events) I clocked that Ms Trujillo was standing directly in front of me. Kali, my designer Ian Harman and I looked each other, momentarily panicked, then with sudden determined confidence I pounced.

Hilda is an incredibly attractive woman. As soon as I mentioned a play about Frida Kahlo and La Casa Azul, she was with me, she was captivated. She handed me her business card and said, “You can skype me”. If that wasn’t enough, I was later invited to share breakfast with her at the Museum Hotel in Wellington.

I met Hilda in the restaurant accompanied by my cultural adviser, Evelyn Santana Paz. Hilda bought us breakfast. She loved our beautiful poster image, featuring Kali styled to look like Ms Kahlo. I shared with her various design drawings Ian has been creating for the show. She was excited and unbelievably supportive.  She told me secrets about Frida Kahlo.  Ah-maze-ing. I was able to ask her things only someone like Hilda would know about Frida Kahlo. She understood what I was doing with the production and gave me the confidence that Frida Kahlo would support and believe in what my team and I are going to create.  She got that I too am an artist.  The meeting ended with Hilda giving me her USB stick containing her Frida Kahlo lecture slides. My modest gift to her: a bag of Pineapple Lumps.

And the secrets she told me about Frida Kahlo? Well…you just might have to book a ticket to see La Casa Azul to find out.


“La Casa Azul – Inspired by the writings of Frida Kahlo” runs at Wellington’s Circa Theatre from 25 June – 23 July.
For more information visit: www.circa.co.nz