Photo Credit: Caideco Productions
For 20-plus years, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival has been one of L.A.’s top theater events, highlighting multi-cultural female performers for the live stage. This year, LAWTF — which begins properly on March 27 — is being preceded over three February weekends at the Fremont Centre Theatre by “From the Best of the Fest,” a selection of the finest performances by solo performing women artists who have previously presented their work during the Festival’s 20-year span. It is serendipitous that on February 6 the very first piece to kick off this “Best of the Fest” happens to be my favorite act I’ve ever encountered at LAWTF: Sariyah Idan’s breathtaking “Homeless in Homeland.”
In this riveting one-woman show, the protean Idan (formerly known as Saria Idana) morphs into about 17 Jewish, Palestinian, male and female characters, ranging from childhood to old age, as she explores the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s a progressive young Jew to do when the oppressed appear to have become the oppressor? To find out Idan, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, including to a refugee camp and other sites in the West Bank. Unlike Dorothy, she may not have gone over the rainbow, but the dancer and actress encountered a divided realm every bit as strange as Oz.