By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
There are press materials that describe the piece as a testament to the pain and endurance and survival, and other such tropes.
I responded to it more as a historical kaleidoscope. Its beauty resides in the shifting shapes and recurring images, punctuated with symbols anyone with the most remedial knowledge of history can read.
It's a fever dream on that train to the camps. Those sounds of the train keep echoing, even after we've visited the 1980s.
It invites you in through politics, and then covers you in a blanket of metaphysics, toying with various shapes of time and purpose, of life and death, of hope and despondency, through a magic clown act by people made of stone. Those people are performed by Yaniv Moyal, Avi Gibson Bar-el, Moti Sabag, Hila Spector, Yzekeal Cohen and Yinon Tzafrir.
If you have fixed ideas for or against Israel and its current policies, Orta da Theatre Group has a good shot at reframing the Israel-Palestine debate in ways that invite more rumination than reaction. This was the very impulse for creating the festival. Purl says she was moved to start it after 9/11, when it became evident that "we have enemies." Reared overseas (in Japan) and trained in the theater (at LAMDA), she wanted to do something meaningful to promote international understanding, using the arena she knows best — the theater. The city of Calabasas jumped right in from the start of the extended fundraising campaign. "Calabasas is very pleased [with the festival]," Purl says. "They're in it for the long run."
Yet there's a hint of apprehension in her words.
"We've been doing okay. ... We would absolutely hope that we sell more tickets as we go. We're a relatively new event trying to woo patrons with busy schedules. But these are all U.S. premieres. They're here and they go home. If you don't see it here, you won't see it — at least in this 12-month cycle."
CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL: At various locations in Calabasas. Visit citfestival.org; through July 25.