One-woman play a gripping tale of Syrian refugee - Albuquerque Journal

One-woman play a gripping tale of Syrian refugee

After a performance of “Not My Revolution,” now playing at Fusion Theatre, writer/actor Elizabeth Huffman poignantly expressed her sense of frustration and helplessness regarding the refugee crisis in Syria and elsewhere. “I didn’t know what to do, but I had to do something – I have family over there – and so I created this play.”

Huffman captures brilliantly the awful experience of being trapped in a country where the language is unfamiliar before the play proper even begins. She wanders disheveled and dirty into the theater from outside, pushing her cart and pleading for help. As it happened, she came right up to me speaking French. The desperation was unmistakable, but I had no idea what she was saying. Many in the audience assumed a homeless person had entered the theater and were shocked and appalled.

“Not My Revolution” is a one-woman show chronicling the rise and fall of a once wealthy Syrian woman now stranded without resources in a refugee camp in Istanbul. The first 10 minutes of the play are silent, as we watch the homeless woman prepare her makeshift shelter and clean herself up as best she can.

The play eventually veers back and we see the unnamed woman in happier times, as she marries into a powerful and wealthy Syrian family, runs a fashionable art gallery, and in every way is seen living the good life. But things take a turn when she and her husband get caught in the Arab Spring in 2011. Before long, her husband is dead and she is separated from her children, penniless in a squat in Istanbul.

The play is mutifocused in that it shifts back and forth between Syria and Turkey in 2011 and revolutionary France in 1793. Huffman plays not only the Syrian refugee but also Marie Antoinette. Just as the Austrian Archduchess received a cold welcome in France after her marital alliance with the future King Louis XVI, so the Syrian protagonist is not accepted by her powerful in-laws who rebuff her totally after their son’s death. Clearly, the playwright sees a parallel between the two privileged women destroyed in the cataclysm of a particular historical moment.

Six large paintings cover the entire rear of the stage and are gradually undraped as the play proceeds, each one communicating something different about where we are in this journey through Dante’s inferno. The paintings also serve as a fragmented screen for occasional video projections – sometimes of a refugee camp and at other times of the 18th century French court in all its ostentatious splendor.

Huffman is completely believable as a Syrian refugee utterly devastated by events. Her dialect is impeccable, but even more important, she communicates the terror of a victim caught up in events beyond her control with complete conviction and verisimilitude.

The show is intelligently directed by Laurie Thomas, who keeps Huffman’s character busy with little tasks throughout: an image of pure nervous energy. An accomplished actress, Huffman will be performing this moving and powerful play all over the world. Albuquerque is fortunate to host the national premiere.

“Not My Revolution” is playing at The Cell, 700 First NW, Albuquerque, through today. Go to or call 766-9412 to make reservations.

Home » Entertainment » Arts » One-woman play a gripping tale of Syrian refugee

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Hip-hop artist Khalisol is just getting started after recent ...
New Mexico-based rapper continues to build ... New Mexico-based rapper continues to build brand, hopes to expand Southwest's footprint in music
Resist pruning roses now or they might suffer later
The kindest thing you can do ... The kindest thing you can do for roses right now will be to offer them water.
New interpretive ranger to explain the history, culture of ...
Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting ... Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting the history and culture of the sites through public programming and direct engagement.
Home improvement show, first responder cook-off highlight Rio Rancho ...
The Rio Rancho Events Center is ... The Rio Rancho Events Center is hosting The Rio Rancho Home Improvement Marketplace Show from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and from 10 ...
British artist Damien Hirst explores the way of bushido ...
Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The ... Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The Virtues' by Damien Hirst, an exhibition of eight new prints, Feb. 4 through March 18.
'House Gods' goes beyond materials and designs, and glimpses ...
Jim Kristofic spent five years researching ... Jim Kristofic spent five years researching and writing 'House Gods.' It is based on his interviews – and apprenticeships – ...
Filmmakers follow local ensemble Baracutanga as they travel to ...
The filmmakers will join the band ... The filmmakers will join the band in its journey back home to Bolivia and capture the trip in a feature-length documentary to share with ...
'La Cartonería Mexicana' celebrates more than 100 colorful pâpier ...
Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk ... Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk Art is showing 'La Cartonería Mexicana' through Nov. 3, 2024
Folk duo to deliver their blend of tales and ...
The folk duo Johanna Hongell-Darsee and ... The folk duo Johanna Hongell-Darsee and Scott Darsee will perform their blend of early traditional Scandinavian/Celtic ballads and tales at Santa Fe's First Presbyterian ...