Edinburgh Fringe stars to headline Women's Fest

In 'An Audience', Adrian invites 30 or so people into her living room for snips of autobiography.

cross-dress 88 224  (photo credit: Courtesy)
cross-dress 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Two headliners from last summer's world renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be special guests at the 2008 Women's Festival in Holon from March 4-8. The visitors are cross-dressing Adrian Howells, with his acclaimed An Audience with Adrienne, and Emily Watson Howes, with The Umbrella Birds. In An Audience, Adrian invites 30 or so people into her living room, decorated here by retro-Victorian designer Michal Negrin, for snips of autobiography the audience chooses from a menu, home movies, tea and cake. The audience may even contribute a comment or two. Watson Howes' piece, in which she also performs, is a series of sharp-edged and funny sketches that happen as various women come into a public toilet. In one instance the comedienne is rehearsing for her first show, in another a traffic warden turns out to be a mine of celebrity misinformation, and a woman with a pregnancy test takes center stage too. In Edinburgh the show took place in an actual Portakabin public toilet. Here the accommodations will be a little more comfy, and both shows are in English. For the rest, this year's festival on the 12th has Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own (1929) as its theme. In Woolf's novel the author indicates the necessity of a private and lockable space in which one has the freedom to create. The festival's theater, dance, music, art and literature offerings don't whine at or diss the men, says Festival artistic director Rivi Feldmesser Yaron, but "reveal the woman's world and its inherent power." Some highlights include Mark Medoff's Tony and Olivier award-winning Children of a Lesser God, the story of a bittersweet romance between a deaf woman and her diction teacher. The Beersheva Theater production, directed by Noya Lancet, stars Lilach Zino, who is herself deaf. There's also a puppet/actor version of Ya'akov Shabtai's The Spotted Tiger and The Road to Gehenna which tell the story of five Palestinian women suicide bombers, each an outcast from her own society. In dance, Noa Wertheim's Vertigo company presents White Noise, an exploration of consumerism versus the natural world to which audience members are invited to bring something to trade at the swap-meet before each performance. Vertigo also presents Gila, a play on words signifying age and joy that is a multimedia dance presentation from women aged 72 - 84. Jazz singer Ruti Navon offers jazz standards, and there will be a lot of interaction between up and coming youngsters and the great veterans, such as Sasha Argov or Ahuva Ozeri, in programs like Premieres and Friends or May Nafka Mina. For the rest there are seminars, debates, art exhibitions and not least, literary tributes to children's book author Dvora Omer and poet Dalia Rabikovich.