The topic of homelessness is everywhere and it’s gratifying to see how people are stepping up to help in whatever way they can. Brookside resident and writer Laura Foti Cohen shared with the Buzz that she has been working on a effort to share the stories of formerly homeless people over the past year. Tonight that work is coming together, as a special night of theater opening around the city called Homeward LA. It’s a 10-day citywide event running from April 13 to April 22 and featuring monologues written by local playwrights, based on stories from people who have experienced homelessness.
Cohen was invited by organizer Jason Lesner to join 11 other playwrights to help tell the stories.
Lesner told the LA Weekly,
“I wanted to create a project that I thought had potential for wide outreach and to inspire people to commit to a city where there is no homelessness,” says the passionate Lesner. “And also we have an amazing theater community in Los Angeles, and people have really not realized what an asset it is.”
“It has been my privilege to get to know Dianne Clark, whose story I wrote up for Homeward LA. Dianne was a professional Michael Jackson impersonator for years, and a dancer with the touring company of La Cage Aux Folles. When that career ended, she was homeless for 20 years, until she obtained housing through the amazing Midnight Mission,” explained Cohen.
“Through Homeward LA, twelve playwrights were matched with 12 homeless and formerly homeless people identified by the Midnight Mission. We met first as a group, then each pair met multiple times to identify and craft a personal story,” Cohen continued. “The resulting 12 stories, ranging from childhood memories to the recent past, have been developed into a series of monologues.”
Professional actors will perform the monologues, which have been woven into a play that will be performed at venues that have offered their spaces for free. There are more than 26 performances over the 10 days of the show’s run, said Cohen.
“I hope you will find a location near you and go to this unique and powerful event,” wrote Cohen in an email to friends and fans of her work. “Ticket sales generate income for the amazing Midnight Mission. Having spent a lot of time there over the past few months, I cannot say enough good things about this incredible place. There but for the grace….”
For details and to purchase tickets, visit http://homewardla.org/.
Cohen has another project in the works at the Neo Ensemble Theatre, a show called Inappropriate, scheduled to be performed in North Hollywood and opening on May 4th.