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September 01, 2005|By J. Wynn Rousuck

Arena's ambitious `Passion Play'

Passion Play, a cycle, an ambitious trilogy in which a dozen actors portray 30 characters over four centuries, will make its world premiere at Washington's Arena Stage beginning tomorrow. Written by Sarah Ruhl, an award-winning young playwright, Passion Play uses three performances of the medieval-based Passion Play in different time periods and settings as a way to examine art, politics and religion.

The first play in the cycle takes place in 1575 England, the second in 1934 Oberammergau, Germany, and the third in modern-day South Dakota. Featured in the ensemble cast is Center Stage associate artist Robert Dorfman, who will portray Queen Elizabeth I, Adolf Hitler and Ronald Reagan. Direction is by Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith.

Show times at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. S.W., Washington, are 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, with matinees at 1 p.m. most Saturdays and Sundays, through Oct. 16. Tickets are $41-$60. For more information, call 202-488-3300.

-- J. Wynn Rousuck

Vagabonds' 90th season

The Vagabond Players launches its 90th season tomorrow with selections from Noel Coward's Tonight at 8:30. The theater is presenting a trio of one-act plays from this Coward compendium, and the playlets are being staged by a trio of directors.

Sherrie Barber directs The Red Peppers, about a feuding husband-and-wife song-and-dance team. Sharon Weaver directs Ways and Means, about a financially strapped young couple's encounter with a cat burglar. And Charles Mitchell directs Fumed Oak, about a husband and father who is determined to escape his miserable middle-class life.

Show times at the Vagabonds, 806 S. Broadway, are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 25. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 410-563-9135.

-- J. Wynn Rousuck

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