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'Hair Pieces': Neat Here, Messier There

August 31, 2001|Jana J. Monji

"Hair Pieces: By Women, About Hair," at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre, attempts to address some hairy issues. But this multiethnic collection of short plays is an aggravating array of mismatched snippets--some personal, some touching, some funny and some, unfortunately, just over-teased imaginings.

Co-sponsored by the Fountain Theatre and the Jewish Women's Theatre Project, it's little wonder that the strongest pieces are about Jewish women and their relationship with their hair, or, as in the case of Jenna Zark's "Mother of Myriads," the impending loss of it through traditional marriage ritual.

Ellen Sadler's "Jewish Roots" is a hilarious tale about one woman's acceptance of her un-blond heritage. Susan Merson's "Hair: A Reminiscence" is a funny, poignant tale about how the musical "Hair" helps a mother (Ellen Gerstein) find a new life and reconnect with her daughter.

Diane Rodriquez's Latina mother (Lucki Wheating) and daughter (Lora Martinez-Cunningham) find fashion freedom with a Cousin It look. Hallie Hobson's "Supreme" is a touching monologue in which a daughter (Jacquelyn Houston) recalls her mother's better days before chemo took her crowning glory.

Although these plays deal with real issues, Velina Hasu Houston's "The Lotus of the Sublime Pond" and Elizabeth Wong's "Punk Girls" are really much hairdo about nothing. Houston creates a fantasy about an imaginary Japan; Wong's piece isn't really about hair, but about two spiky-haired women ranting about politics.

Director Jan Lewis lets the bill straggle a bit, and as a whole these hair pieces could be better groomed.

*

"Hair Pieces: By Women, About Hair," Fountain Theatre at Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 and 7 p.m. Ends Sept. 17. $20. (323) 663-1525. Running time: 2 hours.

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