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Posted at 2:32 PM ET, 08/31/2010

On stage in September

By Stephanie Merry

This is a particularly wallet-friendly month for theater. Along with the usual slate of pay-what-you-can performances, free theater festivals are popping up everywhere from Harman Hall to H Street NE.

For the ninth year, the Kennedy Center hosts the Page to Stage Festival, a forum for area theater companies to experiment with readings of works in progress or rehearsals of upcoming productions. More than 40 groups are participating, including such big names as Signature and Folger theaters. But the smaller theaters have a lot to offer, as well. Rorschach Theatre Company returns from a too-long hiatus with a reading of the play "Klecksography," while Taffety Punk presents a dance-infused adaptation of the Brothers Grimm tales. (Sept. 4-6)

Studio Theatre kicks off its season with the Washington premiere of Annie Baker's Obie-winning play "Circle Mirror Transformation," which received a solid reception when it debuted off-Broadway last year. Studio's new artistic director, David Muse, will direct the play, which takes a comedic look at an amateur acting class in small-town Vermont. (Sept. 8-17; Pay what you can Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.)

Round House Theatre begins its 2010-11 schedule with "The Talented Mr. Ripley," the creepy thriller about a homicidal social climber. Karl Miller, who won a Helen Hayes Award for his role in Forum Theatre's "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches," leads the cast as said sociopath. (Sept. 8-26; Pay what you can Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 11 at 3 p.m.)

Arts on Foot, the massive annual arts festival, offers something new this year: a free look at the theater season ahead. More than 25 local companies, including Arena Stage, CityDance, Washington Improv Theatre and Synetic Theater, head to Harman Hall to perform 15-minute previews. (Sept. 11)

Also at Harman Hall, Shakespeare Theatre Company offers a history lesson in three installments with "The Great Game: Afghanistan." The trio of productions includes 12 short plays about significant moments in Afghanistan's history, including the British Army's retreat from Kabul in 1842. (Sept. 15-25)

The H Street Festival is more than parades and carnival games. There will be plenty for theater fans, too. Atlas Performing Arts Center, the historic movie theater turned theater complex, will host an open house including free performances, tours and workshops. Meanwhile, those looking to move their feet can dance in the streets with local company Joy of Motion. (Sept. 18)

-- Stephanie Merry

By Stephanie Merry  | August 31, 2010; 2:32 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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