Legendary monologist Ruth Draper's signature piece was a 1926 tour de force called The Italian Lesson.
In this comic work, a society matron juggles conversations with servants and children, and deals with a variety of other interruptions, while she attempts to learn Italian.
Beginning tomorrow, Rep Stage in Columbia will offer a double bill of Draper's spoken monologue (performed by Valerie Lash) followed by composer Lee Hoiby's opera version (performed by Deborah Kent).
The combined production is titled The Italian Lesson and Other Divertissements.
Both Lash and Kent are on the faculty of Howard Community College, where Rep Stage is in residence.
Stage direction is by adjunct faculty member Jackson Phippin (former associate artistic director of Center Stage).
Musical direction is by Patricia McKewen, who will conduct a chamber orchestra for the opera portion of the pro- gram.
The two versions will be preceded by a piano duet of Leonard Bernstein's "Symphonic Dances From West Side Story."
Performances will take place in the Theatre Outback at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, with matinees at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16. The show runs through Feb. 16. Tickets are $13-$22. Call 410-772-4900.