By Chelsea Jauregui and Kay Gray
After Hours at Rosie’s Pub is back tonight to kick off its final three performances. Written by the women of the Brelby Ensemble, Rosie’s Pub brings together various women who’ve made a mark on history to share their stories in one epic open mic night and we’re excited to continue bringing you our Mixology series. We continue the series with another chat between Brelby Collaborative Artists, Chelsea Jauregui and Kay Gray, who so incredibly portray the characters of Frida Kahlo and Mary Magdalene, respectively. These two actresses sat down to chat about the Pub, the women they would play if they could be a different character, and we learn more about the connections between the women who frequent Rosie’s Pub. We guarantee you’ve never seen history this way.
Chelsea Jauregui, Frida Kahlo: Who is the one person you don’t want to run into at Rosie’s?
Kay Gray, Mary Magdalene: Seriously?
CJ: No, I’m just kidding. Rosie’s is a great place and you can run into anyone and know they’ll listen to and support you. But for real, if you could only describe Mary using one of the colors of the rainbow AND a food what would you say?
KG: I think Mary is Violet! Violet consists of two other colors mixed and can blend with so many others. As far as food goes, I think she’s a hearty beef stew. Good flavor and comforting, makes people feel warm all the way through;) How about Frida?
CJ: Frida is Red Brussels Sprouts; she is very passionate but also has spent her entire life in pain. I see red as a very passionate but painful color. However, amazing Frida was, her paintings may take some a second to get used to. I see her food as Brussels Sprouts because they are an acquired taste. At your first try, you might not like them but once you learn the best ways to cook and eat them, you may find them quite tasty.
KG: I think that’s a great way to describe Frida!
CJ: What are some qualities about Mary you relate to or want to emulate?
KG: I definitely relate to the faith aspect of Mary; she stood up for her belief and so do I. I was thrilled to be cast as her because my Christianity is such a large part of who I am. I also love that she sees all people as worthwhile, just like Jesus did! Plus, she’s a wisecracker, so that came quite naturally to me. I feel like I have embraced some of Mary in my life since portraying her… Do you relate to Frida?
CJ: At the start of the rehearsal process I didn’t think I was like Frida in any way, shape or form. Now I like to think that she and I would connect over our sense of humor. She had a wonderful sense of humor that is not always prominent in her paintings. And I find myself slipping into her accent and limping around my house.
KG: How has researching Frida and bringing her to the stage, changed you, if at all?
CJ: How has researching Frida changed me? I have always distanced myself from the ideas of love and family and my heritage. And while I am not suddenly engaged to a true love, planning a traditional Spanish wedding that all 97 of my cousins will attend, I did pick up my old copy of Pride and Prejudice that I never actually read in high school, (it was the most romantic book I own that wasn’t Harry Potter cuz, you know, Snape).
CJ: When researching for Mary did you learn anything interesting that you didn’t expect?
KG: I learned that the traditional thought that she was a prostitute is incorrect. Her name, Mary the Magdalene, was given to her by Jesus and that it means a ‘tower that stands watch.’ She obviously was important to Jesus, she was the first of the disciples that he appears to after his resurrection. That has to mean something.
CJ: If Mary were to visit 2016 for one day, what do you think she would do?
KG: I believe that she would try to spread the truth of the gospel as much as she could, as much as she did in her lifetime, I think that she would also want to tell her community to try to reach out in love, not hate and judgement. Would Frida have some message for today’s society?
CJ: Frida followed her heart, even when it led her to pain. She didn’t care about how others felt about her work or her marriage and she was a strong political figure. I think if she were to visit 2016 she would paint the world with love. Maybe modern medicine could help with her pain and sickness, but I’d like to think that she would partner with Lin Manuel Miranda and they would spread with words, heart, and art that love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
KG: See? More in common than anyone would have thought. That’s Rosie’s.
CJ: That’s Rosie’s! If given the opportunity, what other great female character in the show would you like to play? Why?
KG: I would love to play Monica because she was so misunderstood at the time of her “notoriety”. She has such depth of character. Which character would you have chosen?
CJ: When I originally auditioned for Rosie’s, I hoped that I would have the opportunity to read for Jane Austen. When the sides were sent out before callbacks, Frida didn’t have one. I didn’t know much about her besides her unhealthy marriage, her paintings and her eyebrow(s). But Jane Austen, her monologue really spoke to me and the fact that she is a celebrated female author only made her more appealing. What I admire most about the women of Rosie’s Pub, but especially of Jane and Frida, is their ability to produce out of their passions. Jane, with her novels and Frida, with her art. I may not see much of myself in Frida but I do see so much of what I would like to be in her.