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Susan Rubin, 40, recounts her own counterculture-era adventures in a one-woman performance piece, “Sarah’s Story: Tripping on the Belly of the Beast,” now starting an indefinite run at the recently moribund Los Angeles Theatre Center.

“The burden (of reopening LATC) is mostly psychological,” Rubin says over coffee on the back porch of the Hollywood Hills home she shares with her musician-writer husband, Charlie Degelman. “What’s on my shoulders is whether the city will take the artists down there seriously. . . . We’d like to be given Theatre 4 (LATC’s 99-seat performance space), not for free but at a rate that expresses some confidence in us.”

Set in 1969, “Sarah” is about an idealistic Brandeis grad, who dances topless in New Orleans, studies ballet (and deals hashish) in Paris, then runs off to “investigate” the era-ending Sharon Tate murders in Los Angeles, where she takes up with cops and Communards alike.

“In terms of felonious stuff, it’s entirely accurate,” Rubin says, except “I didn’t deal hash in Paris.”

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Her mother always told her she’d be the next Elizabeth Taylor, but Rubin, a veteran of on-campus political cabaret and pro-choice benefits, discovered she was “too dark and too ethnic” for the Hollywood mainstream. Commercial agents, she says, told her: “If we ever want to sell olive oil or spaghetti sauce, we’ll be on the phone with you.”

And although Hollywood has shown interest in “Sarah,” Rubin is holding out for the right casting: “If there was a movie, I would hope to play my mother.”


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