The Los Angeles Festival is upon us during the month of September, with an attendant Open Festival swelling the ranks of theater offerings. The busy roster of events includes:
* New York's Purgatorio Ink company presents Iranian playwright Assurbanipal Babilla's provocative performance piece, "Three Angels Dancing on a Needle," a West Coast premiere at the Tamarind Theatre in Hollywood.
* Nikolai Gogol's story about the mental collapse of civil servant Poprishchin, "Diary of a Madman," is adapted for the stage by Ismail Kanater in this West Coast premiere at the Odyssey in West Los Angeles.
* The Sierra Puppet Theatre brings old legends to life in "Coyote Tales" at the Santa Monica Library. Admission is free.
* Andrea Marcovicci asks the musical question "What Is Love?" in her one-woman concert at the Westwood Playhouse.
* Helikon Theatre Co. bows with "Los Angeles and Beyond" at the Zephyr in West Hollywood; the one-acts include Trish Johnson's "Art of Self Defense," Alice Gerstenberg's "Overtones" and Susan Champagne's "A Good Touch."
* Two South African plays, "Big Boys" and "Still Born," open at Hollywood's West Coast Ensemble.
* New York performance artist Sheila Gordon brings her hit one-woman show, "New York: Sex, Killing and Shopping," to Ravello's in Santa Monica.
* Women in Theatre presents Barbara Eaton's "Smoke and Mirrors: A Rendezvous with Harlow" and Michael Drury's "Advice to a Young Wife From an Old Mistress" at the Santa Monica Playhouse.
* George McGrath's "Your Very Own TV Show," an all-improvised show starring a member of the audience in a TV pilot, opens at the Groundling Theatre in Hollywood.
* An actress, an aviator, a warrior and a dreamer face off on a giant chess board in May Sun's and Guy Giarrizzo's performance work, "Chinese Chess Piece," at Hollywood's United Methodist Church.
* 1930s Hollywood is the setting for "Dead End at Sunset," an original adaptation of Maxim Gorky's "The Lower Depths," at Theatre East in Studio City.
* The blind pursuit of wealth is the subject of Doug Textor's dark comedy "Birthright," opening at the Attic Theatre in Hollywood.
* Deborah March, Vera Taicher, Pamela Munro and Juanita Copeland present individual performances in "Collage of Women's Moments" at the George Izay Park in Burbank. Free admission. (The show will travel to other venues.)
* "Dinner With Matt and Dan," dinner theater where dinner is the theater, has a one-night run at Villa Milan in Hollywood.
* It's modern woman coping in the new comedy, "Women Who Judge Too Much . . . and the Mothers Who Made Them," at Theatre/Theater in Hollywood.
* Pierre Epstein brings writer Alexis de Tocqueville to life in his one-man show "Democracy in America" at Stages in Hollywood.
* North Hollywood's Lankershim Arts Center makes its bow with the premiere of "Journeys, the Immigrants' Tale," a tapestry of stories by eight recent immigrants to the United States.
* A Hawaiian family experiences the culture shock of 20th-Century America in Miki Kim's one-woman show, "A Tita, Abroad," at Theatre 6470 in Hollywood.
* The top-notch comedy group Brain Trust returns to the Tamarind Theatre in an all-new show, "Senti-Mental Cruelty."
* The Actors Co-Op presents the West Coast premiere of "The Traveling Lady," Horton Foote's story of 1950s rural Texas, at the Crossley Theatre in Hollywood.
* "Treats," a comedy on modern relationships by Christopher Hampton ("Les Liaisons Dangereuses"), comes to Venice's Rose Theatre.
* "Boys' Life," Howard Korder's story of male egos on parade, plays in repertory with the premiere of Michael Vetrie's folk comedy, "Fool," at Hollywood Actors Theatre.
* The comedy group Yikes offers its new show, "Some Stuff We Thought Up" (on such current issues as German reunification and malathion spraying) at the Gardner Stage in Hollywood.
* "Monday After the Miracle," William Gibson's companion piece to "The Miracle Worker," continues the story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, opening at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.
* John DiFusco's Vietnam-inspired "Tracers" is revived at Hollywood's Mean Street Ensemble.
* Theatre Repere's "The Dragon's Trilogy," an English/French/Chinese-language odyssey weaving East and West cultures--and spanning 1910 Canada to the present--will offer three- and six-hour performances at UCLA's Ralph Freud Playhouse.
* Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's carnivorous plant Audrey II is on the loose again in "Little Shop of Horrors," at the Golden Theatre in Burbank.
* Lorena Cassady's "Filthy Beast," billed as "a comedy of resurrection," opens at the Zephyr Theatre in West Hollywood.
* Staged by Tim Robbins, the Actors' Gang presents "The Good Woman of Setzuan," Bertolt Brecht's story of a prostitute trying to go straight, at the Odyssey.
* Rachel Rosenthal's "Pangaean Dreams," a multimedia performance piece on the earth's eternal state of change, premieres at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
* Writer-storytellers Eric Trules, Kedric Wolfe, Leon Martell and Barry Yourgrau come together--albeit for separate performances--in "Sums of its Parts" at Beyond Baroque in Venice.
* Richard Hellesen and Michael Silversher's children's musical, "Gift Rap," marks the debut production of the Encino Playhouse.
* Madeline Comora and Marinagela Pino's seven-character, one-woman treatise, "For Crying Out Loud," makes its premiere at the Mean Street Ensemble.
* Susan Franklin Tanner's largely autobiographical "Journey to Singapore: The Infertility Play" (at Highways Performance Space) uses the documentary form to examine the humor and pathos in a four-year quest for pregnancy.