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CITY ARTS : A Festival of Women

March 20, 1994|ERIN J. AUBRY

Adilah Barnes got the idea for a women's theater festival when she realized there were scores of local artists who, like herself, did solo pieces but had no larger context in which to present them.

"There are a lot of voices out there," she said. "I wanted to make a forum that would allow them to come together to be heard."

So Barnes and fellow performer Miriam Reed founded the Los Angeles Women's Theater Festival and planned it for March, Women's History Month. The four-day event showcases 24 pieces by actors, dancers, comics and storytellers.

Among them is Barnes herself, doing an excerpt from her show, "I Am That I Am--Woman, Black," a series of portrayals of noted black women in history, from slavery to modern times.

Other pieces include Deborah Oliver's "Split," a look at a 1950s housewife; dancer Sun Mi's solo piece "Primal Urge"; Wendy Kamenoff's coming-of-age tale "undressing new jersey (and other states of mind)"; and storyteller Diane Ferlatte's "Sapelo: Time Is Winding Up." Actress Angela Bassett is host of the opening-night gala.

Barnes hopes the festival will kick off a tradition among artists of various ethnic backgrounds bound by the shared experience of womanhood. "My wish," she said, "is that everyone who leaves the event leaves with the sense of greatness about not just black women, but all women."


Los Angeles Women's Theater Festival, Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St.; Thursday through March 27; tickets, reservations: (213) 466-1767; $6-$25.

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