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Kaite O'Reilly - disability arts online
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Kaite O'Reilly is an award-winning playwright and a recipient of two Cultural Olympiad Commissions. She blogs about writing and the process of writing with a focus on four forthcoming productions, which revolve around disability issues.

Chevela Vargas, seated taiquiquan, and stinky tofu: second week rehearsals of The 9 Fridas in Taipei

16 August 2014

Blog

Bobo Fung in publicity material for ‘The 9 Fridas’, wearing a necklace of a dead hummingbird from Kahlo’s self-portrait ‘A Necklace of Thorns’

Chevela Vargas haunts me. Her smoky, broken voice is the soundtrack to my dreams and the first thing I become conscious of when I wake. The raspy passion of her songs play in my head all day and then loop and replay in my mind all night. Torch singer, lesbian icon, rumoured lover of Frida Kahlo, her voice is part of the audio for the Taiwanese production of my script ‘The 9 Fridas’. The photo of her sexy and supine, her hand casually resting on the breast of a laughing Frida Kahlo...

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‘The 9 Fridas’ first week of rehearsals – and The Sunflower Protest

8 August 2014

Blog

We are in the first days of rehearsals with Mobius Strip Theatre Company in Taipei, Taiwan. ‘The 9 Fridas’ is a performance text with multiple protagonists who are and yet are not the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. In the script I’ve taken moments from her extraordinary life and reframed and reinvented them, in contemporary contexts. Using cross-gender, cross-impairment casting, we are creating a mosaic of voices and experiences which, when combined, suggest the whole. The...

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Why I think Frida Kahlo is a disability icon: Frida Kahlo on pain and tragedy

25 August 2014

Blog

Bobo Fung in publicity material for ‘The 9 Fridas’, wearing a necklace of a dead hummingbird from Kahlo’s self-portrait ‘A Necklace of Thorns’

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.”  We are working on my performance text ‘The 9 fridas’ and dealing constantly with Frida Kahlo’s defiance in the face of pain and adversity. One reason why I chose to make this text was a desire to reclaim Kahlo as a disability icon and inspiration, rather than the ‘tragic but brave’ mainstream representations of...

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